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Couturier's selection reinforces Flyers' depth

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 3:31 PM ET / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Couturier\'s selection reinforces Flyers\' depth
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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Gostisbehere 6 1 1 0 2
B. Schenn 6 0 2 2 2
W. Simmonds 6 0 2 -1 2
S. Gagner 6 0 2 1 2
J. Voracek 6 1 0 -1 1
M. Raffl 6 1 0 0 1
R. White 6 1 0 0 1
C. VandeVelde 6 1 0 -1 1
A. MacDonald 6 1 0 0 1
B. Manning 6 0 1 -2 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 2 1 0 .981 0.67
S. Mason 0 3 0 .852 4.09
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