2011-12 San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture Report Card

MJ KasprzakSenior Writer IIMay 17, 2012

2011-12 San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture Report Card

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    This offseason, I began an ambitious series examining each individual player to suit up for the San Jose Sharks in 2011-12.

    However, I took a couple days to grade the playoff performance of each San Jose Sharks player. Last week, I took a tangent to examine the team's reported pursuit of Rick Nash.

    So why not resume the series with the player the Columbus Blue Jackets were reportedly interested in getting in return at the trade deadline? Here is a look at how this last six-plus months have told us about the good, bad and ugly truth moving forward on Logan Couture...

The Good

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    Logan Couture finished the 2011-12 season tied for the San Jose Sharks lead in goals and was tied for fourth in assists. He had a goal and three assists in the playoffs, being the only Shark besides Joe Thornton to score in three of five games and one of only six to score a goal.

    He was also the most consistent scorer San Jose had. While he did go 10 games without a goal at one point in the season, he never went more than five without a point and scored in 62.5 percent of his games played, both best on the Sharks.

    This is represented in his offensive quotient (link takes you to the formula for forwards): 68.2 led the team. But he is so much more than a skilled player.

    He is smart and savvy with a good work ethic. He was tough enough to put up those numbers playing through a separated shoulder that required surgery when the season ended.

    He had the best giveaway to assist ratio on the team (.94) and was third in takeaways (61). He was second among forwards in blocked shots (76) and had the confidence of the coaching staff to be fourth among forwards in ice time.

    This all adds up to a defensive quotient (above link also has this formula) of 47, third among Sharks forwards. The resulting 115.2 was the team's highest rating.

The Bad

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    Logan Couture is not very physical, registering 42 hits in 80 games. Only Joe Thornton and Martin Havlat had fewer hits per minute than Couture.

    He is not the greatest centreman in the faceoff circle. He finished third among the Sharks' four most frequent centres taking draws at 51.4 percent, winning 26 more than he lost.

    When being merely above-average qualifies for a list of bad things about someone, you have an elite player.

The Ugly Truth

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    Logan Couture's sophomore season proves he deserved the 2011 Calder Trophy after his rookie campaign.

    Some people like to note how much of a surrounding cast Couture has. But as soon as someone mentions Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, it is obvious the bias is strictly a matter of East Coast people not knowing anything about West Coast teams beyond what a stat sheet shows...

    Logan's linemates in the season in question were Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi. Skinner had Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal at times in that season. His blue line combined for nine more points than the Sharks, so Skinner's offensive support there was superior, too.

    Skinner was also considered more of a "true rookie" because Couture had the maximum number of games allowed the previous season to be considered a rookie. He was also more than three years older.

    But it was the maximum allowable. By rule, those players are just as eligible as those with less than 25 games in the previous season.

    Besides, if Couture was more developed than Skinner in his "rookie" season, why did his numbers go up in his sophomore season while Skinner's went down? It certainly was not because of better linemates.

    Martin Havlat appeared to be an upgrade for Couture, but spent most of last season hurt. In his place, the Sharks tried various forwards on the second line that the Sharks chose not to play when they were healthy at other times of the season: Torrey Mitchell, Michal Handzus, Tommy Wingels, Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero and Jamie McGinn.

    Yet there was Couture, putting up points while the rest of the Sharks secondary scoring was absent. And he is signed for the next two year for just $5.75 million total.

    Thanks to his youth and two-way talent, that makes him a better bargain than any of the world's best young talent: Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Shea Weber. That is why if there is one Shark off the board for trades, it is Couture.