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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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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