After a tremendous playoff run that saw the team take the Los Angeles Kings to 7 games in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the San Jose Sharks could have rested on their laurels. However, they chose to be proactive, and on Tuesday afternoon, they locked down one of the top young stars.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the team agreed to a 5-year, $30 million extension with their star center that will keep Couture in San Jose through the 2018-2019 season. At first glance, this contract seems like a bargain for a player entering his prime, and the Sharks may have gotten a bit of a hometown discount.
Couture has led the Sharks in goals in each of the past two seasons (including 21 during this year’s lockout-shortened campaign), and he has emerged as one of the top goal-scorers in all of the NHL. Those statistics combined with his still-young age of 24 make this a tremendous coup for the Sharks, and this could be seen as the first step in a long-term plan by GM Doug Wilson to keep San Jose in prominence for multiple seasons.
Obviously, the timing of the signing (i.e. in the middle of the Stanley Cup Finals) will keep the focus off of the move, but that could be viewed as a positive for the Sharks franchise. It’s never a bad thing to lock up one of a team’s best players, and with the lack of scrutiny, Couture will be allowed to develop with his teammates in relative obscurity, while avoiding the pulls of media attention.
It’s a good day to be a San Jose Sharks fan.