2018-19 Season Review: Logan Couture comes in clutch
They don’t call him Clutchure for nothin’.
While browsing Twitter, I saw a hypothetical thread of hockey fans talking about their ideal off-season acquisition in a perfect world. At the top of someone’s list was Logan Couture, and can you blame them? His performance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs alone was enough to write home about. He played consistent hockey and came in clutch when his team needed him most.
For years now, Logan Couture has felt like the San Jose Sharks’ best kept secret. He’s somehow stayed under the radar in the National Hockey League world while Sharks fans have been singing his praises for years.
This was a career high season for the assistant captain. He manned the center position on the first line and the first power play unit, generating points with ease. Sometimes, he took game results into his own hands.
Couture topped out at 70 points this season, with 27 goals and 43 assists. He went on to add 14 goals and six assists during playoffs. Unless Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues scores a hat trick in tonight’s Game 7, Couture will finish as the playoffs goal-scoring leader, and likely in the top five in playoff points. Only reigning Stanley Cup champion Alex Ovechkin has more career playoff goals than Couture, totaling 50 and 48, respectively.
During the first round of the playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights, Couture was called for one of the most questionable goalie interference calls that not only discounted one of his goals, but also sent him to the box. We can all recall just how that call lead to the Sharks’ decline in that series, but it was Logan Couture who helped lift the team to victory. He scored in Game 5 and Game 6. He went on to score twice on that infamous four-goal power play that brought the Sharks into the second round of playoffs.
Couture took a total of 204 shots on goal. He could also be found close to the goal, ready to shoot the puck throughout the entire season. It’s incredibly important to note his offensive contribution all year long. Brent Burns was the only player with more assists. Eighteen of his 70 points came on the power play, six of them were goals. He had three game-winning goals and an important late goal to force an overtime against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final. That goal came with less than a minute on the clock. I’ll let you remember yourself how that overtime wrapped up.
Career Summary (via HockeyViz)
Couture saw a good chunk of ice time, especially as healthy players started to become scarce in the final rounds of the playoffs. He averaged 18:36 in the regular season, surprisingly not a career-high despite playing on the top line nearly full time. In the postseason, that number jumped to 20:08.
As injuries plagued his team, he was able to take the ice every playoff game, although it was clear something was up. The king of unlucky injuries took a puck to the face and lost some teeth against Vegas. He stuck it out and it is unknown if he will be seeking any treatment in the off-season.
RAPM Chart (via Evolving Hockey)
Even though Couture had been playing on the second line, which typically handles more defensive responsibilities, his defensive play is the only area of improvement. That said, his offense certainly makes up for it and his power play prowess speaks for itself.
There are maybe too many Logan Couture highlights this season. We could go with his two power play goals in Game 7 against Vegas or that late goal that sent the game to overtime against the Blues.
My favorite highlight of Couture’s this season came in the second round of playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche. It was his first hat trick in his post season career and brought his total of playoff goals to nine. During postgame interviews, when asked about the hat trick and Couture’s playoff production, Pete DeBoer said it best: “You take it for granted. He does it all the time. In my time here, he’s done that regularly at this time of year.”
We, as Sharks fan, are just used to seeing Couture perform when it counts. He is one of those players who gets better under pressure.
Sorry Twitter user, but in my perfect world, Couture is a Shark for life. He started his career in teal and will continue it here at least for the next few years. He signed an eight-year contract last summer, an $8 million average annual value. We will cherish him for those eight years.
The future for Couture is clear. He is a leader, wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey for a couple years now. As Joe Pavelski’s future with the club seems more and more unknown, Couture is certainly a candidate for the future captain role. His teammates love him, the city of San Jose loves him, he deserves to wear the ‘C’ for this club in the future.
He will probably continue to bank in twenty-ish minutes on the top line. This season, he was mostly paired with Timo Meier and Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist, another big question mark moving forward, will leave an open spot on that right wing. I’d love to see Joonas Donskoi move up, but we will probably be bidding farewell to him as well. His line is just one giant question mark at this point. All I know is he will always come in clutch for this group.
What a glorious season it was for Couture. There is only one way to go from here, and it’s up. He will continue to produce offense, score goals and support his team when they need it most. He’s not our best kept secret anymore. Now, the world knows why we call him Logan Cultchure.