Couture not miffed by All-Star snub


Couture not miffed by All-Star snub

SAN JOSE No matter the sport, the All-Star balloting and selection process is never perfect. Its impossible to make everyone happy.

That being said, the NHL released its official ballot for the All-Star Game on Thursday, and included were five San Jose Sharks. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns all have a chance to become starters in the game, which takes place in Ottawa on Jan. 29.

Curiously, Logan Couture was left off of that list. The forward, in his second full NHL season, is off to a good start with six goals and five assists in 14 games. He was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 2010-11.

RELATED: Five Sharks on NHL All-Star ballot

Couture isnt losing any sleep over it. In fact, he had no idea it was even released.

I didnt even know it was out, he said on Saturday. Whos on it?

Well, Logan, the other two Calder Trophy finalists, winner Jeff Skinner of Carolina and Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders, are on the ballot. Skinner has 14 points on the year, but Grabner has just six (5g, 1a).

He plays on a different team. He doesnt play with Joe Thornton and those type of guys, Couture said of Grabner.

We have so many good players. Im not focused on making the All-Star team. Im focused on having a good year. That doesnt bother me. I dont really care if I play or get nominated, he said.

Couture probably wouldnt have gotten voted in as a starter anyway, but admits that he would welcome the opportunity to be among the games biggest stars in the midseason event. He went last year as one of 12 top rookies in the skills competition.

I did it last year and was a lot of fun, he said. You never know if youll ever get back to that game. I had a blast at it last year, and down the road if I get back there, Id be happy.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.