It's a short offseason for Sharks center Logan Couture, and it’s apparently not all that relaxing.
The 27-year-old is working with a trainer back in his hometown of London, Ontario adding weight and muscle to his six-foot-one frame. According to the London Free Press he’s up to 210 pounds these days, which is 10 pounds heavier than his listed weight for the 2015-16 season.
"You're not going to survive out there being 180-190 pounds," Couture told the newspaper on July 28. "In the Pacific Division, it's just too tough. As you get older in the Western Conference, you've got to play big and strong up front. You've got [Anze] Kopitar in L.A., [Ryan] Getzlaf with the Ducks. I think that's what Edmonton wants to do and Calgary is trying, too.
"That's the way it's been going."
Couture also suffered through a tough first half of last season injury-wise, fracturing his ankle after just three games, and then suffering dangerous internal bleeding in his thigh in December that if not treated promptly could have led to amputation – or worse.
Although he had been generally healthy for the first six seasons of his NHL career, that time missed could be another reason he’s seemingly putting a greater focus on adding some bulk, to withstand the rigors of an 82-game regular season.
"It was a long year, personally," Couture said. "I had a couple of injuries and talked to [Sharks GM Doug Wilson] and he just said, 'Rest, and then get ready to go for next year.' That's been my focus.”
Couture tallied a respectable 15 goals and 36 points in 52 regular season games, but took his game to another level in the playoffs, leading the league with 30 points as the Sharks advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Penguins in six games.
Keeping Couture healthy will likely be vital to the Sharks’ success again this season. The team posted a combined regular season and playoff record of 46-25-5 when he was in the lineup, while it was just 14-15-1 when he was out.