Though reporters had caught wind of it last night, the San Jose Sharks didn’t make an official announcement until today regarding Logan Couture. GM Doug Wilson released a short statement confirming that the Sharks’ captain has a small fracture in his left ankle and will miss “several weeks.” The team has recalled Joachim Blichfeld from the minor leagues.
Couture suffered the injury on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, a game which the Sharks were on the losing end of once again. It has been an absolute disaster of a season for San Jose, who now hold the worst goal differential in the Western Conference at -30. Their record of 19-22-4 is actually relatively flattering given they have scored just 121 goals while allowing 151, more than anyone other than the Detroit Red Wings. For a team that has $26.5MM in cap space eaten up by three defensemen for at least the next five seasons, that’s not exactly ideal.
More notably however might be the fact that the Sharks’ first-round pick belongs to the Ottawa Senators. That pick was originally a conditional 2019 selection, but after San Jose made the playoffs it pushed forward to this year. It can’t get pushed any further, meaning the Senators will have at least two chances at the draft lottery unless one of the teams completes a miraculous comeback in the second half of the season.
Without Couture, that will be difficult. The 30-year old forward took over the captaincy this season when Joe Pavelski left in free agency, and was without a doubt the team’s best player so far. His 36 points leads the group while contributing in all situations and providing his normal two-way presence. Couture is averaging nearly two minutes on the penalty kill a night while also logging nearly three minutes on the powerplay. His +/- rating of -1 is (amazingly) second on the team among regulars, only behind Barclay Goodrow’s +1. Basically, this is a huge loss for the team as they try to salvage their season, and should only push their expiring contracts further into the trade speculation spotlight.