Is Logan Couture now underrated?
That might raise an eyebrow, when you look at some of the counting stats, especially the most damning number of all, his cap hit.
Couture, 33, is signed until 2026-27 with an $8 million dollar AAV. It’s too easy to group him with the litany of big-money disappointments that have dragged down the San Jose Sharks since 2018-19.
But I’ve got other numbers, exclusively from SPORTLOGiQ, that demonstrate how good Couture still is on the ice, and in a wide variety of areas.
So is Couture that game-changer you might hope for at roughly 10 percent of the $82.5 million salary cap? Nope.
But he’s still a very valuable, well-rounded centerman – it’s not his fault that the San Jose Sharks haven’t surrounded their captain with enough quality players.
Case in point: Couture’s most common 5-on-5 linemates last year, save for a productive early-season stint with All-Star winger Timo Meier, were Jonathan Dahlen (not qualified), Noah Gregor (eight goals in 63 games), Rudolfs Balcers (bought out), and Matt Nieto (six goals in 70 games). His most common 5-on-5 linemates in 2018-19? Meier, Joe Pavelski, and Tomas Hertl.
So is it more Couture getting worse since he agreed to an eight-year pact in Jul. 2018 with then-perennial contender San Jose, or is it more that his teammates just aren’t as good as they used to be?
I lean toward the latter: For my money, Couture is still easily a playoff-caliber second-line center. Give him consistently better linemates, he’ll outproduce his most recent and still-respectable 23-goal, 33-assist campaign.
Maybe Couture could’ve garnered more primary assists with some better finishers? Per SPORTLOGiQ, he led all San Jose Sharks forwards with 1.13 Slot Pass Completions Per 20.
All stats are 5-on-5.
Overall, he was San Jose’s third-highest generator of offense up front, trailing only Meier and Hertl with 6.21 Offense-Generating Plays Per 20. Offense-Generating Plays, according to SPORTLOGiQ, “are made up of all plays that lead to scoring chances. In other words, they’re plays that move the puck into high danger areas or situations, recovering pucks for your team, and putting high quality shot attempts on net.”
Couture also lives up to his reputation of being very conscientious defensively: He was second among Sharks forwards with 1.26 Stick Checks Per 20, trailing just Nick Bonino. There’s a reason why he was the league’s second-best penalty kill’s most-used forward.
It’s been suggested by some – including myself – that Couture may have lost a half-step over the years. That may be the case physically, but it appears that he’s made up for it with his smarts and anticipation.
Here’s the proof: He leads all Sharks forwards with 19.53 Loose Puck Recoveries Per 20, and is third, behind Jasper Weatherby and Tomas Hertl, with 3.36 Puck Battle Wins Per 20. You can’t do that if you can’t skate.
That’s three zones of effectiveness, on both sides of the puck, from the now-underrated pivot.
What are the San Jose Sharks’ chances of making the playoffs next year? Check out the latest NHL odds at BetFlorida.
“Oh yeah, he’s a great 2C,” an NHL executive told San Jose Hockey Now. “I like my team a lot if I have him in that role.”
“He’s a very efficient player. I don’t think he wastes a lot of energy in terms of doing things that get him out of position. Very smart.” (Andrew Cogliano)
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