Continuing on with the grading of the 2011-2012 San Jose Sharks, we’re moving onto the forwards. As the category of forward includes centers, left wings and right wings, we are starting with a few of the centers.
Logan Couture – Coming off his sophomore season with the Sharks, Couture was on the 2011-12 NHL All-Star team after being named to the All Rookie team the year before. Not falling to the sophomore slump, Couture finished the season with 31 goals, leading the team. His 34 assists combined with his goals landed him second on the team with 65 points behind Captain Joe Thornton (77). With two shorthanded goals, including this one against Vancouver in January Couture proved himself to be a force on the penalty kill. On top of leading the team in goals, Couture also lead all centers in five other categories. Grade: B+
Michal Handzus – Hampered by injuries of seasons past, Handzus started the season off slow, scoring 3 goals in the first half of the season. Playing in only 67 games in the 2011-12 season, Handzus also spent most of his time as a healthy scratch and ended up playing in only two of the post season games with the Sharks. With two power play goals, Handzus landed seventh on the team behind a group that consisted of Logan Couture (11), Patrick Marleau (10) and Joe Pavelski (8). Grade: C+
Torrey Mitchell – Since coming to the Sharks with Devin Setoguchi in 2007, Mitchell has not been able to top his rookie year stats, and even had a stint in the minors for a year. In 2007-08, Mitchell averaged 2:36 of shorthanded time on ice, compare that with this past seasons :37 and one might assume that he’s been in the dog house. His 9 goals this season left him one shy of tying his career high from 2007-08. Talking strictly numbers, Mitchell ended the season with a -6, while posting 29 penalty minutes and only a 43.4 faceoff percentage. Not sure what had Mitchell lacking in his play this past season, but let’s hoping that next season will be better. Grade: C+
Joe Thornton -Not the only player to seem to be lacking in passion this season, his 18 goals this season has been his worst since coming to San Jose in 2005-06. Falling second behind Logan Couture (31), Thornton also fell short of his career best by 19. Leading the team in both giveaways (95) and takeaways (96), Thornton found himself mostly on the power play. His 3:22 lead all forwards, and he managed to post 4 goals. Grade: B-
Not including Domonic Moore, Tommy Wingles, Andrew Desjardins, or Andrew Murray, the overall grade for the Sharks centers averages out to be a B+.
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