24-Year-Old Center – Philadelphia Flyers
Sean Couturier Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $26 million contract extension with the Flyers in July 2015.
Couturier scored a goal with two assists and a plus-3 rating in Thursday's 6-3 victory over the Islanders.
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Sean Couturier: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Last season offered both positives and negatives for Couturier – although he ended up with the same high-30s point total we’ve now seen from him three years running, he did so in only 63 games. So the 23-year-old pivot’s scoring rate is on the rise, but a number of injuries kept him from having a true breakout season. However, a fully healthy 2016-17 could very well see him break 50 points for the first time as Philadelphia’s second-line center as he continues assuming a bigger and bigger offensive role; his ice time has clearly been trending away from shorthanded situations and toward the man advantage. The No. 8 overall pick in 2011, Couturier has made it clear by now that he’s not much of a shooter, but he can be a highly effective playmaker who offers a reliable two-way game.
Fresh off signing a six-year contract extension, Couturier is heading into a critical 2015-16 season. The 22-year-old put up 15 goals and 37 points in 82 games last season, finishing third on the Flyers with 31 even-strength points and ending the regular season on a six-game point streak. While he's yet to surpass 15 goals in a single season, the Flyers see him as their eventual second-line center, though it's unclear if he'll move up from his current spot on the third line right away in 2015-16. At this point in his career, Couturier has already shown the ability to match up defensively against top competition as a key member of the team's penalty kill; now, he'll need to demonstrate that he can become the viable secondary scorer the top-heavy Flyers need to complement Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds. The youngster remains more valuable to the Flyers than to fantasy owners, but after back-to-back campaigns just shy of the 40-point mark, this could be the year he builds off the confidence the team has in him and becomes more of an offensive threat.
Couturier was hailed as a gifted two-way player in the mold of Patrice Bergeron when he came into the NHL three years ago. In fact, his 223 points and cumulative plus-141 rating in 184 games in junior were indicative of a future Selke winner. While his offensive game hasn't yet fully matured in the NHL, he is still very good in his own end of the ice and a great shutdown center. His biggest problem will be finding ice time behind Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn. A long-term injury to either of those players would elevate Couturier up the depth chart and certainly help his numbers, but that sort of promotion obviously isn’t guaranteed. For the time being, it’s probably best to forget about the hype he entered the league with and temper expectations about his potential fantasy production.
Couturier signed a two-year extension in late July, and looks to recover from a down season. Known for his defensive prowess, the 20-year-old center is still young and developing, so he could be a target in keeper leagues. And if he can get back to his 2011-12 form when he posted a rating of plus-18, he has the potential to add value in deeper leagues.
Couturier had an impressive NHL rookie season with 27 points and a plus-18. While he may not have put up all-star fantasy numbers, with the absence Jaromir Jagr and a few other free agents, Couturier will be expected to play a bigger role this year and may be in for a breakout season. He has uncanny poise for a young NHL player and his two-way skill have allowed him to successfully close down some of the Eastern Conference's top scorers; he's regularly matched up against players like Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. Remember his name in keeper leagues.