San Jose Sharks: Breaking down Logan Couture and the new leadership group

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - MAY 15: Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after scoring a goal on Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - MAY 15: Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after scoring a goal on Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks have named Logan Couture as team captain for the 2019-2020 season. Four other players were named as alternate captains.

Since Joe Pavelski signed with the Dallas Stars back in July, the San Jose Sharks have looked for ways to fill the void left by their former captain. Enter Logan Couture.

While it remains to be seen just how they’ll accomplish that on the ice, they’ve finally decided who would fill the leadership hole left behind.

On September 12, head coach Peter DeBoer announced that Logan Couture would take on captaincy of the team, with Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Tomas Hertl being designated as alternates.

Couture is the perfect fit for this opportunity. As the 10th captain in San Jose Sharks history, Couture will be tasked with leading a young hockey club to the next level.

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He played an instrumental role in leading the charge during the Sharks miraculous turnaround in Game 7 of the 1st Round Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights.

With less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation, the Sharks would need to overcome not only a three-goal deficit, but also the loss of their former leader, Joe Pavelski, after a brutal head injury that led to a five-minute major.

Couture would score two of his Stanley Cup Playoff-leading 14 goals during the penalty and help lead the team to a thrilling 5-4 victory in overtime.

Logan Couture is built for this opportunity and Sharks fans should be excited that he’s been named the captain of the team. He has earned his “Clutchure” nickname. He has earned the respect of his peers. And now he’s earned the role as team leader.

Head coach Peter DeBoer had a glowing endorsement for Couture during the press release.

"“Logan has…evolved into someone who not only plays his best hockey when it matters the most, but who also leads by example off the ice. He knows what it takes to win and his performance in our recent playoff runs reflects that. Most importantly, Logan has the respect of his teammates and we’re extremely proud to name him as the tenth captain of the San Jose Sharks.”"

Couture enters his 11th season with the Sharks where he has played 663 career games and ranks top five all-time in goals, points, and assists. He saw career-best marks last season when he accumulated 70 points — 27 goals and 43 assists.

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As a top-10 player in the league, it’s only fitting that Couture finally gets some form of credit.

Meanwhile, the Sharks have sported an abundance of leadership thanks to DeBoer’s belief in a leadership group culture rather than a single voice. The Sharks decided to name four alternates along with Couture.

Although it may seem like overkill, the team has traditionally utilized different sets of alternates for home and away games. The two defenseman and two forwards will likely be split into these sets come the season’s start.

DeBoer was not shy in expressing his excitement over his group of alternates either, citing a robust number of potential leaders within the team:

"“We have a great blend of talent and experience among these four players who will support Logan as alternate captains. Two of these players are previous captains themselves, and we feel this group is a reflection of our team’s identity.”"

Brent Burns and Joe Thornton will return as alternate captains for the 2019-2020 season. Burns led the team in scoring with 83 points and led all defensemen in assists and points last season.

Thornton, a former captain with the Sharks from 2010 to 2014, enters his 15th season with San Jose. Jumbo continues to solidify his Hall of Fame career, currently ranking eighth all-time in assists, 12th all-time in games played, and 14th all-time in points.

Tomas Hertl, just 25-years-old, gets the nod as the youngest player within a leadership role this coming year but has fed into the culture of this current team. He cruised to career highs in goals, assists, and points last season and is sure to continue adding some swagger to this team.

Erik Karlsson enters his second season with the Sharks after signing a massive eight-year, $88 million contract. Coming off of groin surgery, there will be legitimate questions about living up to that contract.

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But his leadership presence has immediately been felt and should continue to be felt. Karlsson was named captain of the Ottawa Senators in 2014, a title that he carried for four seasons.

The Sharks are fortunate to have as many capable leaders as they do. While designating so many alternate captains has received some flak from other teams, it highlights the fact that there are several leaders in the locker room.

It will be somewhat interesting to see how Marc-Edouard Vlasic processes the news of the leadership selections.

The experienced defenseman has been with the San Jose Sharks for the entirety of his NHL career, entering his 14th campaign. While the expectation is that the titles of alternate captain are relatively arbitrary, he may feel slighted by having younger defenseman chosen over him.

The likelihood would be that this doesn’t devolve into any situation that mirrors Patrick Marleau and the supposedly threatened fallout after he was not given a letter in 2009. This feels like a different situation, and Vlasic is a different player.

Players like Vlasic will still continue to be a voice in the locker room. His experience will still be leaned on. And this all, again, emphasizes the leadership culture in San Jose.

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The Sharks have rightfully blended experience with the new generation in their casting of leadership roles for this upcoming season. Now it will be Logan Couture’s goal to lead his peers to the promised land of securing the Stanley Cup.

If history is any indication, he’s more than ready.