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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Logan Couture, Sharks have deal

ESPN.com news services

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Sharks have locked up a key piece of their future, agreeing with star center Logan Couture on a five-year contract extension worth about $6 million annually, sources told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

The deal has not been announced officially by the Sharks -- it can't be signed until the free-agency window opens July 5 -- yet sources confirmed the extension. Comcast SportsNet California earlier reported that the sides had an agreement.

Couture still has one more year at $2.875 million on his current two-year, $5.75 million contract. The extension will kick in for the 2014-15 season and will keep him in San Jose through 2018-19.

The 24-year-old Couture has emerged as one of the Sharks' top players the past two years in all facets of the game, becoming the team's most reliable goal scorer, drawing the toughest defensive matchups and becoming a leader in the locker room. Couture is expected to become part of the formal leadership group next season, replacing the departed Ryane Clowe as an alternate captain.

Couture has led the team in goals the past two seasons, scoring 31 in 2011-12 and 21 during this lockout-shortened campaign. He is tied for seventh in the NHL with 84 goals over the past three seasons.

Couture has also been a strong postseason performer in his career, helping the Sharks make back-to-back runs to the conference final in 2010 and 2011 and leading the team's playoff charge this season. He has 17 goals and 16 assists in 49 career playoff games.

General manager Doug Wilson has historically done a good job of locking up his star players before they hit the open market, doing deals previously with players like Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Antti Niemi.

Locking up Couture was one of the biggest items on Wilson's to-do list this offseason as the Sharks try to improve on this season's playoff run, which ended with a Game 7 loss in the second round at Los Angeles.

The Sharks would also like to sign Pavelski to a new deal before he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and want to bring back unrestricted free agent forward Raffi Torres, among others.

Senior writer Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.