Locking up Logan Couture? Well done, Mr. Wilson

The San Jose Sharks locking up Logan Couture for two years and $5.75 million is shrewd on a number of levels. And not just because a player who exhibited such brooding intensity in his NHL Awards photo shoot will be a Shark through 2014.

If you believe Couture has the goods as a player, and we do, then the Sharks getting him into an extension before he starts collecting passes there were previously intended for Dany Heatley is rather smart.

Said GM Doug Wilson:

"Logan is an excellent teammate and he proved it by committing to the team-first philosophy that we have instilled here," said Wilson. "Last season, as a rookie, he was a catalyst for our hockey club as one of our most consistent players. Over the last two postseasons, he has been one of our most reliable players. We're excited to see him build upon his early success and continue his growth over the next three seasons."

Furthermore, it continues a pattern of team building for Wilson. From Fear The Fin:

Couture, Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski will all hit the free agent [market in summer 2014], setting the stage for what will be an extremely interesting summer. Only Couture will be a RFA that year, with all of the aforementioned players holding UFA status. This method is no coincidence-- both Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley, who were traded in separate deals this summer for Brent Burns and Martin Havlat respectively, either signed or were signed to contracts that carried them up to that offseason as well.

Considering San Jose's prospect pipeline is currently ranked 30th by Hockey Prospectus and 25th by Hockey's Future (pre-Coyle trade), it's safe to say that Stanley Cup window is something that ownership and hockey ops will be focusing on quite intently over the next three years.

Couture's going to play a major role in the Sharks' Cup contention. He scores, he does the little things, he's a burgeoning leader. And now they're not going to have to worry about the financial implications if he takes a substantial leap forward from his 31 goals and 56 points last season.

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