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Couturier's selection reinforces Flyers' depth

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 3:31 PM / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Couturier\'s selection reinforces Flyers\' depth
The Philadelphia Flyers hope Sean Couturier, taken with the pick they received in the Jeff Carter trade, will fill the hole at center left by the departure of Carter and Mike Richards.
ST. PAUL -- One day after trading two All-Star centers in Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, the Philadelphia Flyers have a pair of youngsters they hope can follow in their highly skilled skates.

Philadelphia acquired Brayden Schenn as part of Thursday's blockbuster deal that sent Richards to Los Angeles, and with the No. 8 pick in Friday's first round of the 2011 Entry Draft -- a pick obtained in the deal that sent Carter to Columbus -- the Flyers selected Drummondville Voltigeurs center Sean Couturier.

After leading the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in scoring with 96 points as a 17-year-old in 2009-10, the 6-foot-4, 197-pound center scored another 96 points, this time in just 58 games -- 10 fewer than the previous season. Couturier also had 3 points in seven games while helping Canada win the silver medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship. He was the only draft-eligible player on the team.

However, Couturier's goal total dipped from 41 to 36, and his stock slipped in the eyes of some scouts. He entered the season as the early favorite to be taken with the first pick of the draft, but ended the season No. 6 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

"All our guys liked him," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said. "Two years ago he was one of the better underage players in Canada. This past year Sean, after the Canadian World Junior camp, was diagnosed with mono, which zapped him of some of his strength. He struggled early in the year, but bounced back on not one of the better teams in the Quebec League, still had a good year offensively. He's a well-rounded player at a young age. He's very competent in his own zone and he's a guy that has some offensive pop, as well."

Holmgren wasn't the only one who liked what he saw from Couturier this season.

"He possesses a very good work ethic and he's out there for every important faceoff," said Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau. "He's very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game -- a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey."

The Flyers have three centers under contract for the 2011-12 season -- Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Blair Betts. Briere and Giroux have experience playing on the wing, and Betts will center the fourth line, so there could be an opening or two entering training camp.

"At training camp we'll have spots guys are fighting for," Holmgren said. "That's one of those things the players usually answer. We're excited about him coming to our development camp after the Fourth of July. That'll be our first taste of working with him, and coming to training camp. It'll be his fourth year of junior (if he doesn't make the team). Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know. He's a big kid, he's pretty filled out already, so I would say it's an important summer for him."

Couturier said his goal is to be in Philadelphia for the 2011-12 season.

"For sure my main goal is going to be to try to make a spot on the roster," he said. "We'll go from now and work hard, keep working hard during the summer and improve myself and be ready for camp. Once I get there, I just want to show what I've got.

"I think it's going to be up to me to work hard this summer and show what I've got. I can't control the decision after that. But my main goal for sure is going to be part of the team."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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