Someone is going to need to step up offensively for the Sharks during Logan Couture’s absence due to another concussion. Couture accounts for most of this team’s offense. He leads the team in both goals and points. He’s the staple of the second line and has a big stake in making guys like Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi better when he’s on that line so losing him is going to hurt. We saw it in the game against Edmonton. While they had a couple of goals, the offense just never got rolling. It was more stagnant than usual with guys trying to figure out how to step up in the vacant second line center spot.
It is going to take a better effort from everyone on this team to cover for the alternate captain’s exit, but one player in particular needs to elevate his game. That guy is Tomas Hertl. Hertl has been the apple of Corsica Hockey’s eye, with his advanced stats off the charts, and one could even argue that he is the best defensive forward on this team. The issue with Hertl has been the same issue with the Sharks this year, and in year’s past. He doesn’t score enough. Hertl has 8 goals on the season, tied for second on the team with Chris Tierney. That is on Couture’s line with him setting up the majority of his goals. Since his rookie season, the Sharks have wanted to see him anchor a line. They’ve tried putting him at the center position a few times and it hasn’t worked. He’s had far more success in his career as a winger, rather than a play making centerman.
But this team no longer has a choice. They have to put Hertl in one of the center positions on the ice and they absolutely need more production from him. He either needs to be their leading scorer every night while Couture is out, or he needs to have lead his line mates in assists. Especially if he’s anchoring a line with Kevin LeBanc or Timo Meier. Those guys need to get going, and he needs to be the one to get them there.
It’s going to take a full team effort to make up the offense that Logan Couture is leaving on the ice in his absence. Everyone needs to raise their level of play. That is obvious. But it is Tomas Hertl who needs to step up the most. He’s one of the more athletic skaters on this team, and this front office has tried and failed to anchor him on his own line without a guy like Couture setting up plays for him. Its time for him to take the reigns on the second line and prove to Peter DeBoer and Doug Wilson that he can be the guy the Sharks thought they drafted. A big, athletic center who has the ability to step up and be THE guy when his team needs him. The time for Tomas Hertl is right now. He needs to lead this team during these few games Couture will be out.