Philadelphia Flyers: Sean Couturier and the Secondary Attack
While there are other rookies like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who lead the league in rookie scoring, none of this year's rookie class have the complete two-way play that Couturier does.
Couturier has served time on the Flyers penalty kill, third and fourth lines providing solid checking.
Despite going up against the other team's top lines every game and playing short-handed, Couturier leads all rookies in plus/minus at plus-13 and is three goals behind rookie goal leader Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
On top of the defensive aspects he displays at the ripe age of 19, Couturier has hands like Steven Stamkos when he is able to blast wrist shots past goalies like Pekka Rinne.
Although Couturier lacks that straight ahead speed that fellow rookie Matt Read uses to blow through the neutral zone, Couturier has natural hockey instincts to make up for it.
In time and with some maturing, his speed and instincts should only improve.
So how does this correlate into a secret weapon?
Well Couturier heads up a wave of secondary scoring. Something that according to former Flyer Rick Tocchet is "huge in the playoffs"
Here's a recap of the tweet from Tocchet:Rick Tocchet @RealRocket22Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
"That's why the Flyers are having a great season ...balance scoring ...which is huge in the playoffs"
Aside from the top line of Giroux, Jagr and Hartnell, the Flyers have six other players with at least 10 goals!
If that isn't secondary scoring I don't know what is.
One could say that the sudden surge of goals is a mere streak of good luck, but when you go back and watch the ease Couturier demonstrates in his shot, they might reconsider.
It is this pure ease and skill which will add to an already potent attack for the Flyers.
In most cases a rookie is likely to burst onto the scene and fade down the stretch. With Couturier I think the case will be different.
At the midway point he has gotten a hold of his offensive game. Had this streak been in October or as late as December maybe, but Couturier has played strong all year.
Perhaps being mentored by Danny Briere in the fashion Claude Giroux was will add to sustained success.
One thing is for certain, Sean Couturier has provided the dividend Paul Holmgren looked for when he made a certain trade in June.
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