Sharks spotlight: Logan Couture

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Sharks spotlight: Logan Couture

Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Shark spotlight -- the series
Sharks spotlight: Logan CoutureAge: 23 CIn his second full season with the Sharks, Logan Couture had31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points and 16 penalty minutes in 80 games. Hewas tied for first on the team in goals and tied for second in scoring. Coutureadded a goal and three assists in five playoff games. Hes signed through2013-14.Kurz says: A Calder Trophy finalist last season, the weightof repeating his impressive rookie season weighed on Couture early, andit took him six games to register his first goal. He quickly settled in afterthat, and was arguably the Sharks best player through the first half, whichresulted in an All-Star selection (and now infamous last pick in the leaguesfantasy draft)
Post All-Star break, though, was a different story.Coutures struggles down the stretch were evident as the team struggled tomaintain its playoff position, and the center had just four goals in the last19 games after the trade deadline. Although he denied it in March, health wasalmost certainly the primary reason for the decline. Couture missed two gameson Feb. 28 and March 1 with a lower body injury as a result of some hard hitsin a game in Minnesota, and it was later revealed he was playing through alingering shoulder injury that dated back to 2010. He had surgery after theseason.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Couture had a much tougher assignment inhis second full season, than his first.Not just the pressure of repeating a 30 goal 50 point rookiecampaign, but doing so with a much greater target on his back. Other teams clearly took more notice ofLogan, watched more tape of Logan, and put more sticks and bodies on the Caldercandidate of a season ago. (See Feb 26thvs. Minnesota as a prime example). Whichmakes it all the more impressive that he broke the 30 goal plateau again, whileupping his assist total by 10. Thatscalled responding to the pressure.If Coutures career were a house, he would have thefoundation and most of the framework already in place. Whether hes got 16 points in 12 games (Jan21-Feb 16), or he hasnt scored in 10 games (Mar 15 Mar 31), Logan brings acertain consistency to his game every night.Hes a playmaker, a good skater, and always seems to be ahead of theplay.From my rinkside position, one of the best perspectives isthe ability to watch the faces of players.Logans eyes are an impressive study, especially when hes coming intothe offensive zone; its like hes got the experience of a 10 year NHL vet, andthat hes just executing a plan he might have crafted 2 shifts prior. 2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Couture is expected to be fully healthy at thestart of next season, and will obviously be counted on to be a key part of theoffense. Theres little doubt that hes one of the cornerstones of thefranchise, and a possible future team captain. Thats why general manager DougWilson reportedly made him a non-starter in any talks regarding Rick Nash, andits hard to imagine any situation in which Wilson would change his mind inthat regard.No one except Couture himself knows just how much thatshoulder injury and various other bumps and bruises held him back, and welllikely never know, as he isnt one to make any sort of excuse for a lack ofproduction. If he stays healthy next season, the 23-year-old could easily findhimself among the leagues premier goal scorers.RELATED: Coutures stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Loganhad surgery on his left shoulder just a few days after the season ended. I caught up with him 2 weeks later, where the(minimal) scar was already healing and the recovery process was underway. It was Coutures first time under the knife,and went routinely. He stuck around SanJose to make sure all was well with the procedure, before heading back toOntario for the summer. Bottom line: noreason to expect 39 wont be rip-roaring ready to go, come training camp.It is stating the obvious to say that Couture does well witha healthy Ryane Clowe on his side. Notonly does the burly winger offer a certain level of protection, he also is ableto work the walls, and frequently find Couture in the scoring area. Having at least one linemate of this skillset would seem to set Logan up for the most success in the near future. In a summer where the Sharks ownership has used the wordchange, and the teams coaching staff are likely to implement significantalterations, there is one thing nobody wants to be any different and that isLogan Couture.
Up next: Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

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AP

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

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The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.