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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
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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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