At 21 years of age, center Logan Couture is already on the brink of stardom for the San Jose Sharks.

“He makes a lot of things happen,” head coach Todd McLellan says. “He’s pushing himself up into that prime area.”

Couture credits his early success, six goals in 16 games, to being able to read the play. “I see things develop quick, and I can get to spots quicker than most,” he says.

Teammates Jason Demers and Jamie McGinn say Couture is always in the right place at the right time.

“He has a great hockey sense where he knows where the puck’s going to be or where the puck is going to squirt out,” McGinn says, “and that’s something you need in this game.”

Couture hopes his second year with the Sharks is his breakout campaign in the NHL.

“He’s earning more and more minutes, understands the game, wins a lot battles,” McLellan says.

“If he just keeps doing what he’s doing, we will have no issues at all with him.”

Normally positioned on the second and third lines, Couture has recently seen time on the first line with wingers Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau because of a two-game suspension to captain Joe Thornton. Couture says a key to the Sharks season is getting scoring contributions from all the lines.

“Teams lock in on our top line, even our second line at times, so our third and fourth line really need to contribute and score some more goals,” he says.

In 2005, Couture was signed by the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 76s, where he played for four seasons.
“Going to Ottawa when I was 16, moving away from home, first time being away from my family, I grew up so much,” Couture says. “When you’re living on your own, especially at that young of an age, I think it really helped in my development as a person and as a hockey player.”

McGinn, who played with Couture on the 76s for three seasons, says Couture has always been a silent leader.

“He just continues to get better every year,” McGinn says. “He’s the type of guy who’s not going to say very much, just prove it on the ice.”

The Sharks drafted Couture with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, and he debuted in San Jose last year, scoring five goals in 25 games.

Couture says the pressure of being a top pick doesn’t creep into his mind too often.

“I believe if Logan meets his own expectations, then we will all be happy because he has set some pretty high standards for himself,” McLellan says.

Demers and McGinn believe Couture has the ability to be one of the league’s best players in the near future.

“I think there’s no limit to what he’ll be able to accomplish if he keeps working hard and he keeps his passion up,” Demers says.