Logan Couture: The Sharks got a great deal

Last summer Doug Wilson, GM of the San Jose Sharks, announced that he had re-signed Logan Couture for a 2 year deal which kicked in when his entry-level contract was completed at the end of the 2011-12 season.  Couture had just come off a great first full-year campaign with the Sharks and finished second for the Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year.  It made sense that the Sharks wanted to lock him up for a longer period of time and address the contract before he reached RFA status.

What was very surprising to me at the time was the size of the contract.  Couture’s first year stats were impressive, ranking #66 in overall point with a +18 plus-minus. When you factor in his playoff performance in 2010-11 (14 points in 18 games) it was clear that even if he just maintained that level of performance he was a Tier 1 player in the NHL.  When I looked at the numbers of the two-year contract of $2.75M and $3M ($2.875 cap hit) it seemed rather low. Now that the 2011-12 year is done (which included an All-Star game appearance), it seems even more obvious that Doug Wilson and the Sharks are getting a smoking deal for the next two years (assuming he stays healthy and continues to perform at a similar level).

Logan Couture
GP G A Pts Cap Hit ($M) True Value ($M)
2010 25 5 4 9 0.30 0.59
2011 79 32 24 56 1.24 3.72
2012 80 31 34 65 1.24 4.57

Keep in mind these numbers are regular season only and do not include playoffs (see the Puckonomics methodology for an explanation) so adjusting for playoffs would likely make his True Value even higher than the amounts shown above.

While Couture would have only been an RFA at the end of the 2011-12 season and probably not been able to capture the full amount of his True Value like a UFA would, it is clear that he is worth significantly more than the $2.75M & $3M he will be earning the next two years.  I certainly hope that whoever is the GM of the Sharks at the end of this contract is ready to compensate Logan Couture not only for his future value on the ice, but also recognize that the organization underpaid him since day one on the team.