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