The Sharks will remain without captain Logan Couture this week as he’s been ruled out for the remainder of their road trip, head coach David Quinn said (via San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng). Couture is slowly nearing a return from a lower-body injury that’s sidelined him for the whole season to date, and he’s been skating for over a month. However, Quinn has repeatedly preached caution by not rushing him into the lineup and risking re-aggravation of the injury.
Couture’s return won’t have much of an effect on the Sharks’ on-ice fortunes. Their 23 points and .267 points percentage are both the worst in the league this season, coupled with a -90 goal differential that demonstrated little optimism for improvement. They may have some upward mobility into the 31st or 30th places in the league standings, but even that seems unlikely past the halfway point of the season. However, his return to the organization is an important emotional win – the veteran of over 900 games and 14 seasons in a San Jose sweater remains an important locker room presence and provides some more quality depth for youngsters like William Eklund, Henry Thrun and Fabian Zetterlund to skate with.
More from around the Pacific Division:
- The Seattle Times’ Kate Shefte relays that the Kraken are without three major players for today’s tilt against the Penguins: winger André Burakovsky, center Matthew Beniers and star defenseman Vince Dunn. Burakovsky, 28, is out with a lower-body injury sustained early in Saturday’s 7-4 win over the Blue Jackets. It continues an extremely injury-plagued season for the Swedish winger, whose previous upper-body injury had limited him to 13 games on the year. He has one goal and five points after finishing second on the Kraken in points per game last year with 39 points in 49 appearances. The 21-year-old Beniers, meanwhile, sustained an upper-body injury against Columbus after appearing in all 42 Kraken games thus far this season. His sophomore campaign has been rocky after taking home the Calder Trophy last season, posting just six goals and 19 points after notching 57 points last season. His possession numbers remain strong, however, a positive sign that his decline in production likely isn’t permanent. Dunn is out with an undisclosed injury after logging 22 minutes against Columbus on Saturday. The 27-year-old should earn himself a few Norris votes at season’s end, leading the team in scoring with 35 points while playing over 23 minutes per game. He’s in the first season of a four-year, $7.35MM extension.
- Ducks winger Brett Leason is not in the lineup for today’s game against the Panthers after leaving Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Lightning with an upper-body injury. The 24-year-old has already set a career-high in points with 12 through 36 appearances this year, scoring six goals and posting a -6 rating in bottom six minutes. Entering the game against the Lightning, he had been a healthy scratch in two of the last four games. He hasn’t been given a return timeline by the team yet.