July 1: The Sharks have now made the deal official and confirmed the aforementioned terms.
June 27: The Sharks are closing in on an eight-year contract extension with forward Logan Couture, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reports (video link). No financial terms are available at this time but he notes that the contract could be made official on Sunday, the first day that he’s eligible to sign the extension.
Signing players to early extensions is something GM Doug Wilson has done in the past. Last summer, he inked defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (eight years) and goaltender Martin Jones (six years) as soon as they were eligible to.
Couture has spent his entire career with the Sharks who drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) back in 2007. He became a regular with the team three years later and has never looked back as he has emerged into a reliable two-way forward that has been fairly consistent offensively, averaging between 0.69 and 0.83 points per game over the last eight years.
The 29-year-old is coming off of one of his best seasons as he set a new career high in goals (34) which will certainly help his negotiating leverage. He’s set to earn $6MM for 2018-19 and it’s quite likely that this new deal will exceed that amount.
As the contract won’t kick in until 2019-20, it won’t have any immediate bearing on their pursuit of soon-to-be UFA center John Tavares or any other players they’d look to add this summer.
Assuming this gets finalized as expected, it will be interesting to see how quickly Wilson and the Sharks turn their focus to center Joe Pavelski. He’s also set to enter the final year of his contract next season and is eligible to sign a new contract as early as Sunday. The 33-year-old has also spent his entire career in San Jose and is coming off another strong campaign where he posted 66 points in 82 games. However, if they are able to land Tavares or another prominent addition up front, they may not have the long-term cap room to keep him around. Accordingly, while the Sharks have acted quickly on extensions as of late, one for Pavelski may have to wait a little while yet.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.