Logan Couture has been a constant force for the San Jose Sharks whenever he is on the ice. He’s had some bad luck when it comes to staying completely healthy, but when he can string together games he is a force to be reckoned with in all 3 zones.
After signing a 8 year 64 million contract on July 1st, per Capfriendly. Some hockey enthusiasts have speculated whether or not the 29 year old was worth that type of commitment from a San Jose Sharks organization with an already aging roster. But judging by his start of this season Logan Couture is living up to his salary.
This year the San Jose Sharks roster is littered with plenty of established NHL talent and emerging impact players. This configuration of players has been able to generate sustainable offensive zone pressure but have had a difficult time converting those chances into points on the scoreboard. Logan Couture however seems to have figured out to speed up their slow start here in the early stages of this season.
He is on his best scoring pace of his 11 year NHL career but it’s being overshadowed. Maybe rightfully so considering his line mates consist of an emerging superstar power forward Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, a dominant player in his own right. However even with the beginning stages of this season be as sensationalized as it is Couture’s dynamic play shouldn’t be ignored.
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Cooch is tied for the team lead in points with 16 in 14 games. The centerman has scored 6 goals and assisted on 10 of them. Couture gets heavily involved in the offense whenever he on the ice. He has been on the ice for a team leading 26 goals and tied for second with 17 goal allowed. He’s witnessed a lot of goals on both sides of ice, but this is mostly due to how coach Peter DeBoer deploys his favorite players
The Ontario native is playing at an elite level in all 3 zones but especially on the opponents side. Couture leads all San Jose Sharks players in scoring chances for and according to Corsica Hockey the leads all Team Teal forwards in xGF.
These stats illustrate that Couture is dangerous when given space to work with in the offensive zone and he’s also putting himself in the appropriate positions to receive passes from his line mates who have been dominant at zone entries all season long.
Logan Couture’s passing ability is up there with the leagues best. He leads the team by a decent margin in 5v5 in terms of on ice shooting percentage with 14.85%, per Corsica Hockey. All 10 of his assists this year were considered primary. A lot of the credit can be awarded to the spectacular play from his linemates but Couture’s effectiveness in the offensive zone has been overlooked his entire career.
He is extremely consistent on offense but he is a 200 foot player with great positioning and skate speed keep him in the play wherever the puck is on the ice. The coaching staff relies on him to play heavy minutes, he leads all forwards on the San Jose Sharks in TOI with an average of 19:39 per game, stat courtesy of Hockey Reference. DeBoer seems to be playing the guys he feels can build momentum for his group during the early stages of this year, and he obviously feels Couture is a player who can turn the tide in his favor on a night to night basis.
The lifelong San Jose Shark’s usage gets spread all over the ice. He is third on the forward group in on-the-fly starts with 175. His ZSR is at a 55.21, stat per Corsica Hockey, illustrates that Couture’s been dispatched at both the offensive zone and defensive zone at nearly the same rate. The San Jose Sharks have spent a lot of time in the offensive zone this season, but when they need a player to retrieve it from the defense and push it up the ice they rely on players like Cooch.
One of my favorite visualizations to use to help represent how zone usage is spread out by a club is one from (@IneffectiveMath) Micah Blake McCurdy’s Hockeyviz.com. Its been tracking all 5v5 zone start locations over the course of the season.
Logan Couture’s consistent calming presence on the ice has helped ease players like Hertl and Meier’s transition into the dominant players they are so far this year. These two players are going to be commanding players in the league for years to come, and as long as they stay in a teal sweater, Couture will most likely be around and still contributing.
Couture’s new contract essentially confirms that the 2007 first round pick will be a Shark for life. This means we have a lot more time to appreciate all that he does for this team on a nightly basis. Watch for him to continue to elevate his play with the help from the players that he gets to share the ice with.
Every stat used to write this post was provided by naturalstattrick.com, unless stated otherwise.