3 Reasons Philadelphia Flyers Were Smart for Keeping Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier survived the Philadelphia Flyers' trade deadline and will finish the season wearing orange and black.
The second-year forward is noticeably suffering from the dreaded sophomore slump and has been missing offensively for the Flyers. With only 10 points through 34 games, the talented forward has not reached his potential at this stage of his career—leaving critics scratching their heads.
Yet many teams throughout the NHL were potentially interested in the two-way center, but Philadelphia decided to keep their promising player.
Here are three reasons the Flyers were smart for keeping Couturier.
1. His Stellar Defense
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In the final month of this regular season and for the coming years, the Flyers will desperately need help on defense. Sean Couturier is one of the best defensive centers in the league and will help this issue.
He currently leads the team with 20 takeaways and has contributed 18 blocked shots this season.
Not to mention his dominance in last year's playoffs against Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. NBC Sports' Joe Yerdon reported Couturier was a main reason for Philadelphia advancing over the Pens last season:
The work Sean Couturier did in the first round against Penguins superstar forward and probable league MVP Evgeni Malkin was truly something to marvel at. After all, the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft shouldn't be the guy that’s able to lock down a guy like Malkin.
With this type of talent, it was extremely wise for the Flyers to maintain a forward/defenseman, as CSN Philly's Al Morganti describes Couturier's style of play. He's a proven defender, whose potential has no limits.
2. His Offensive Potential
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Not to be too repetitive, but Couturier has contributed very little offensively this season and was recently demoted to the fourth line.
After a brilliant rookie campaign ending with 27 points through 77 games, Couturier has been a shell of his first season in the league.
The 20-year-old center may never blossom into a scoring machine, but he does possess the skills to be a consistent threat. Early scouting reports from NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards showed Couturier had the skills of a playmaker as a junior hockey player:
Sean has excellent puckhandling and playmaking ability; he sees the ice and reads the play very well . . . He's extremely smart and gets himself into good scoring position.
The talent is there; Couturier must now build on his NHL experience and trust his natural instincts with the puck. With the proper line pairings and hard work ethic, Couts could become one the best two-way centers in the league.
3. Now Has the Opportunity to Step Up
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With injuries to Max Talbot and Danny Briere, the Flyers will need Couturier to elevate his play.
And as of late, he is doing just that.
Philadelphia is 3-0-1 in its last four games, and Couts has scored a point in the last three. The team will continue to lean on its young center, in hopes of turning his and the Flyers' season around.
Keeping Couturier allows the Flyers to develop a player from the beginning of his career and have him grow within the organization. And with the team struggling with injuries and battling for a playoff berth, now is the time for Couts to show his importance on the ice.
After Wednesday's comeback win over the Montreal Canadiens, Couturier was asked about the trade rumors leading up to today's deadline and how it felt about remaining a Flyer (via Courier Post's David Isaac):
I’m glad to be here. I try to control what I can control and trades you can’t really control what’s going to happen.
Philadelphia and the fans are glad you stayed, as well.