Chris Tierney

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Couture extension continues Sharks’ summer spree

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The San Jose Sharks aren’t messing around this offseason.

The deal won’t become official until Sunday, but Logan Couture is set to sign an eight-year extension with the Sharks worth $64 million.

The signing could kick off a wild next 24 hours for the Sharks, who are reportedly one of the top teams in the running for unrestricted free agent John Tavares.

The team already locked up forward Evander Kane to a seven-year, $49 million contract earlier this spring, further solidifying a forward contingent that was already in the top half of NHL goal-scoring.

Couture was a big part of that, scoring a career-high 34 times to go along with 61 points in 78 games. He had four goals and eight assists in 12 playoff contests with the Sharks.

The move doesn’t change the cap (currently at $60 million and change) for the Sharks this year as Couture’s extension doesn’t kick in for another year.

The Sharks have two pending restricted free agents still to sign in Tomas Hertl (who is going to get paid) and Chris Tierney and have still yet to sign Joe Thornton, who is a UFA and 39 years old but still coveted by the team.

Couture’s signing should make what Sharks choose to do with their captain Joe Pavelski — who is entering the final year on his five-year, $30 million contract — interesting going forward.

But over the next few hours, what Doug Wilson can do regarding Tavares might just cement him as the best GM in the league this summer.

Getting Tavares, without trying to understate this, would be massive for a team that’s solid up front — with Kane, Couture, Pavelski and Hertl — solid on the backend — with Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic — and with a quality goaltender in the crease in Martin Jones.

Wilson has done a solid job of laying out a good future for Tavares to walk into if he so chooses.

And now we wait to see if Tavares wants to build there.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Senators rally in third to beat Sharks, surpass Bruins in Wild Card race

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Back in mid-February, Ottawa required nothing short of a miraculous run to get back into the playoff race. Enter 27-year-old rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond. He’s reversed the course of the team to the point where they are actually in possession of a Wild Card spot after earning a 5-2 victory against San Jose Monday night.

San Jose’s Joe Pavelski and Chris Tierney did managed to score just 30 seconds apart in the second period, but that’s all Hammond allowed in his 29-save effort. Ottawa did the rest courtesy of a third period rally with Senators forwards Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan leading the charge.

Zibanejad netted Ottawa’s first two goals of the game while Ryan was credited with three assists, including the 200th of his career.

Starting with Hammond’s first start on Feb. 18, the Senators have gone on a 15-1-1 run. The sole regulation loss came during one of Craig Anderson’s two starts during that stretch. Coupled with the Bruins dropping five straight games, Ottawa now has a one-point edge over Boston in the battle for the second Wild Card seed. On top of that the Senators have played in one less game.

The stakes will be very high for the Bruins on Thursday when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.

For the Senators, as big as tonight was, there might also be a somber note to it. Although Hammond played the full 60 minutes, he suffered an ankle injury that required treatment after the contest, per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. Zibanejad also blocked a shot with his arm but said he’s okay.

John Scott to play for Sharks versus Kings at Levi’s Stadium

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John Scott, you’re going in.

The towering San Jose Sharks forward, who has two goals and three points in 24 games this season, will play against the L.A. Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series game, according to multiple reports.

As a result, Chris Tierney will come out of the lineup, as per CSN Bay Area.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan has opted for size in such a big game, before what will be a huge crowd. Scott last played Feb. 11 against the Washington Capitals.

“John Scott had a big factor in the game we played against L.A. last time,” said McLellan, as per NHL.com.

“He played really good minutes, hard minutes. They’re a big team, and John is that. That’s called ingredients. You need different types of ingredients on any given night to win. The last time we used those ingredients we had some success.”

The Sharks are shaking up their lines

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With just two wins in their last nine, the San Jose Sharks are shaking up their lines for tonight’s game in Dallas.

From CSN Bay Area:

Against the Stars, indications are Logan Couture will center Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels on the (top?) line, while Joe Thornton skates between Patrick Marleau and Melker Karlsson on another line. Tyler Kennedy will get bumped up to a third line role with center James Sheppard and Matt Nieto, while rookie Chris Tierney will be between Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins on the fourth line.

Couture has spent most of the season skating with Marleau, while Thornton has most often been with Pavelski.

Of the four, it’s Marleau the Sharks could use more from. The 35-year-old has just 11 goals in 59 games. He finished last season with 33 goals.

Five-on-five, Marleau and Thornton haven’t skated regularly together since 2011-12.

Related: Sharks risking ‘national embarrassment’ in outdoor game: columnist

‘Inconsistent’ Sharks get Wingels back versus Flames

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It’s not all bad injury news for the San Jose Sharks. While they won’t have d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic tonight against the Flames, at least key forward Tommy Wingels will be back.

Wingels has been activated from injured reserve after missing seven games with a broken hand. Versus Calgary, he’s expected to skate on the right side of a line with Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney.

The Sharks, perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NHL this season, lost another winnable game Saturday at home to Carolina — just the latest defeat to a team that won’t be participating in the playoffs this spring.

Tonight, not only will the Sharks be looking for redemption for Saturday’s effort, they’ll be trying to avenge last week’s 3-1 loss to the Flames in Calgary.

“We’re an inconsistent team this year. We need to fix that going forward,” forward Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.

“We’ve got a stretch run here. We’re going to need to win a lot of games to get into the playoffs.”