Couture trade rumors ‘false,’ Sharks GM says

Couture trade rumors ‘false,’ Sharks GM says

Couture trade rumors ‘false,’ Sharks GM says

The San Jose Sharks have no plans to trade Logan Couture this offseason, general manager Mike Grier said Monday.

“And one more thing I want to put to bed for you media guys. There are things I’m looking to trade Logan Couture or something like that. It is absolutely false,” Grier said. “If you look at us bringing in young players and having a young squad, he’s exactly the type of person you want around your young guys. He’s our captain, he’s our leader. He’s had a tough year but we love him .most important as a person and is still a hockey player”.

Couture, 35, missed the first 45 games this season with a hip/groin injury he suffered during offseason training. He returned on January 20 and had an assist in his season debut, but just 11 days later, he re-aggravated his lower-body injury, causing him to miss the rest of the season after playing just six games.

At the Sharks’ end-of-season press availability on April 20, Couture said he plans to resume skating in July and reiterated that San Jose is where he wants to be when training camp begins in September.

“I love San Jose. I believe in what they’re doing here,” Couture said. “Obviously, a terrible, terrible season, but I think this is the least of it. I think they’re growing this organization the right way, even though you might not see it now with how tough the season has been.

“It’s tough. Losing (stinks). … I’ve been fortunate to be here for many, many great years. … I hope we can get back there. I hope to be around this team when we get back to that point .”

Couture, who has three seasons remaining on an eight-year contract he signed on July 1, 2018, ranks third in Sharks history in goals (323), fifth in assists (378), fourth in points (701) ) and fifth in games played. (933).

“We’ll see. I’m 35 years old. The clock for me playing in this league is behind nine,” Couture said. “But yeah, I want to win. I miss playing in the playoffs. You want a definitive answer, but yeah, I’m going to try to get back into the game.”

The Sharks (19-54-9), who finished last in the NHL this season, failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth consecutive season after qualifying in 14 of 15 seasons previous.

During the rebuild, Couture watched a series of pillars leave the Sharks. Joe Pavelski, whom Couture replaced as captain, signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1, 2019. Brent Burns, who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman in 2017, was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on July 13, 2022. Erik Karlsson, who won the Norris Trophy three times, including with San Jose in 2023 after he had 101 points, was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on August 6, 2023. This season, Tomas Hertl was traded to Vegas Golden Knights on March 8.

“Obviously, I see guys that have been here the last couple of years come on, and some are in the playoffs and some aren’t,” Couture said.

The new young core for the Sharks includes forwards William Eklund, 21, and Fabian Zetterlund, 24. Eklund, who was selected with the no. 7 in the 2021 NHL Draft, was second in San Jose with 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 80 games this season. Zetterlund, who was acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on February 26, 2023, was third on the team with 44 points (24 goals, 20 assists) in 82 games.

They could be joined next season by Will Smith, who was selected with the No. 4 in the 2023 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old forward signed an entry-level contract with the Sharks on May 28 after leading the NCAA in scoring with 71 points (25 goals, 46 assists) in 41 games as freshman for Boston College.

The Sharks, who hold the No. 1 in the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, is expected to add center Macklin Celebrini, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA men’s hockey player as a 17-year-old at Boston University. this season. He was second in the NCAA behind Smith with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games.

“There’s reason for Sharks fans to be excited,” Couture said. “I get to see that on a daily basis. (Eklund), (Zetterlund) younger guys that are going to be good players in the NHL, and you know I’ve seen Will Smith play on TV like you all do, and he looks like he’s going to be a good player.”