Logan Couture took a cheap shot from Mike Hoffman on Wednesday night, sending the Sharks alternate captain to the dressing room for the rest of the night. We didn’t get an update on his condition after the game, nor did we find out if he would return to San Jose following San Jose’s shootout win over Ottawa.
So let’s prepare for the worst case scenario: If Couture goes back to San Jose for further evaluation and can’t play for several games. The Sharks do have options, of course. They’ve had to do this before, of course — they had to it last year when Couture missed nearly half a season. Of course then they didn’t have to do it when Tomas Hertl was also out of the lineup.
Let’s get down to business. Here’s the deal: If Couture is out of the lineup long enough for him to be put on Long Term Injured Reserve, here’s how I think the Sharks should line up. Are you ready? Prepare yourselves. Timo Meiermas is coming.
Patrick Marleau — Joe Thornton — Timo Meier
Kevin Labanc — Joe Pavelski — Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker — Chris Tierney — Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto — Chris Carpenter — Melker Karlsson
Oh yes, I made a couple of roster decisions here. First of all, the Sharks sent Mirco Mueller back to the AHL in this scenario since Marc-Edouard Vlasic is back in the lineup. They also sent Micheal Haley down because in my dream the impossible dream world Doug Wilson and Pete DeBoer will actually make a salient roster decision.
Anyway, I think moving Pavelski off the Captain Line will spread out the depth a bit better with Hertl out of the lineup. Once Hertl returns, the Sharks can reunite the Captain Line and San Jose is back in business. Until then, give Meier a chance on the top line with Thornton and see what the kid can do.
To me, this is the only legitimate option to deal with the absence of Couture. If he’s out for a while, the Sharks will need to spread out their depth instead of relying on a strong top six against the Canadiens and Blackhawks. Whether San Jose decides to make roster moves before they get back to SAP Center remains to be seen, but to me this is the obvious move.
Hopefully this post becomes a moot point by the time Saturday’s morning skate rolls around. I guess we’ll see.