The San Jose Sharks have been one of the busiest teams of the offseason. Just because it’s the middle of August, it doesn’t look like Sharks GM Doug Wilson is showing any signs of slowing down. Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area is reporting that the Sharks will announce a two-year extension with Logan Couture that will keep him in San Jose through the 2013-14 season.
Couture was the Calder Trophy runner-up last season, as he finished second in rookie goal scoring (32) and second in rookie points (56). But just as impressive as the statistics the talented center put up; his ability to grow into a responsible two-way player as a 21-year-old really turned heads. Since turning 22, he continued to grow as he showed that he can produce in the playoffs as well. His 7 goals and 14 points in 18 games were both second in rookie playoff scoring.
After being named to the 2010-11 NHL All-Rookie team and proving to be a valuable part of the Sharks organization, it was no secret that San Jose would want to re-sign Couture. But to sign him 10 months before he became a restricted free agent comes as a bit of a surprise. Then again, this is the same front office that was able to lock-up newly acquired defensemen Brent Burns almost a full year before he hit the open market. Say what you want about GM Doug Wilson’s moves—at least the man is proactive.
The big question about Couture’s extension will be the salary he collects for two seasons. His entry-level deal carries a $1.24 million cap hit—the extension will undoubtedly bring a healthy raise. With Couture’s extension, the Sharks now have five natural centers locked up for the next two seasons in Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Michal Handzus. With Marleau playing on the wing over the last couple of seasons, and word that Andrew Desjardins will get every opportunity to lock-down the 4th line center role, the Sharks have no shortage of centers. No wonder the Sharks were able to part with a guy like Charlie Coyle in the Brent Burns trade.
We’ll keep our eye on the story as more details emerge from San Jose.
Update, 11:37 a.m.: CSNBayArea’s Brodie Brazil says Couture’s deal is worth $5.75 million for the two years on his extension.
Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.
Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.
Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.
This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.
With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.
During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.
“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.
“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”
The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.
Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.