Logan Couture wants to be at the heart of the San Jose Sharks’ relaunch, even after defenseman Erik Karlsson was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
The forward spent his 14-year NHL career with the Sharks, who finished seventh in the Pacific Division (22-44-16) last season and did not make the Cup playoffs Stanley since a stint in the Western Conference Finals in 2019. Those results prompted Karlsson, who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman last season, to ask in June to be traded to a team that has the chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Although Couture, 34, also understands that his window of opportunity to win the Stanley Cup for the first time is starting to close, he likes general manager Mike Grier’s long-term vision and wants to honor the past four seasons. of the eight-year contract he signed with San Jose on July 1, 2018.
“If I thought the reconstruction was going to last five, six or seven years, the situation would certainly be different,” said Couture, captain of the Sharks since the start of the 2019-20 season. “But I think Mike has done a good job retooling our organization with some really good (NHL Draft) picks. It is difficult to predict the situation in a few years, but I am looking forward to playing this season. I want to right the ship here in San Jose. I believe we have the right group of leaders to do this. They have a great coaching staff that will get the machine rolling. »
Couture’s philosophy is similar to the one he had when the Sharks traded defenseman Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes on July 13, 2022 and forward Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils on February 26.
Part of that is because he has a stable life in the San Francisco Bay Area. His fiancée, Brielle Eschen, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Caden, on July 30, so Couture has no intention of following in Karlsson’s footsteps and asking for a trade for what could be a last chance at win the Cup.
Not for now, at least.
“Changes are often difficult, and if it has to happen one day and I consider that it is the best thing for my family and me, we will see in time and place, noted Couture. I’m sure over time my role will diminish on the ice, but right now I want to do everything I can to help this team and be the best player I can be for the Sharks.
Couture, who had 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games last season, won’t have the full weight of the team on his shoulders this season.
The Sharks acquired goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood from the Devils on June 27 and forward Anthony Duclair from the Florida Panthers on July 1. They signed forward Filip Zadina, the sixth pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, to a one-year contract on July 10 after his contract was bought out by the Detroit Red Wings. San Jose also acquired forwards Mikael Granlund and Mike Hoffman , defenseman Jan Rutta , who won the Stanley Cup twice with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2024 Draft from the NHL in three-team trade with Penguins and Montreal Canadiens for Karlsson.
“It’s disappointing to lose,” Couture said. You don’t play hockey to lose. You play every night to win, and [coach David Quinn] is a man who absolutely wants to win. For most games last season we put in a very good effort, despite the results.