Cage Match: Logan Couture vs. Jordan Eberle

Rick Roos

2016-06-22

A good one here – Eberle vs. Couture, who would you rather own? Rick Roos breaks it down…

 

What honor could be more prestigious for Logan Couture than leading the 2016 Playoffs in scoring? Appearing in Cage Match of course – against Jordan Eberle! Can Couture carry his magic into 2016-17 and beyond; and will Eberle bounce back after a disappointing 2015-16? Let’s fire up this Cage Match and find out!

Career Path and Contract Status

Couture, 27, was selected ninth overall in 2007 but returned to the OHL for two seasons, culminating in 87 points in 2008-09 (ninth in scoring). Couture’s 53 points in 42 AHL contests for 2009-10 proved he was NHL ready; and sure enough Couture tallied a very solid 56 points for San Jose in 2010-11, then climbed to 65 for 2011-12. Couture had 91 points in 113 (66 point full season pace) over the next two seasons, then rose to 67 points. Along the way, he potted 21+ goals in each season from 2010-11 to 2014-15, making him one of only nine NHLers to accomplish that feat.

Until the playoffs, 2015-16 had been a season to forget for Couture, with injury issues limiting him to six contests before January and, ultimately, subpar production. But with 30 points in 24 playoff games, he became one of three players (Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf) to average 1.25+ points per game in 10+ playoff games in a single season within the last five years and one of only four (Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Daniel Briere) to post 30+ points in one playoff campaign since 2000-01, with each of these others having hit 91+ points during at least one regular season.

Eberle, 26, was drafted 22nd overall in 2008. He also returned to juniors for two more seasons, the second seeing his production explode to 106 points, good for second in scoring (and in only 57 games). In the NHL to stay for 2010-11 ala Couture, Eberle posted 43 points in 69 games, which was respectable but led few to expect what came next, namely 76 points in 2011-12. From there it was 37 points in 48 games during lockout-shortened 2012-13, then 63+ points in 2013-14 and 2014-15, making Eberle one of only three players then age 25 or younger (John Tavares, Steven Stamkos) to average 0.75+ points in each of the four seasons from 2011-12 to 2014-15.

Like Couture, the early part of 2015-16 was a time to forget for Eberle. He missed October to injury then had only three points in 13 games. Eberle also lost steam toward the end of the season, with only seven points in his final 16 games. But sandwiched in between was a scorching 37 points in 40 games.

For the second week in a row, there’s a first for Cage Match. Here it’s 100% identical contract numbers for the profiled players – their deals run through 2018-19, count $6M per season against the cap, and leave them UFAs at completion. The only difference is Couture has a modified NTC.

Ice Time