New York Islanders: On the Clock, Part IV — Sean Couturier

Daniel FriedmanCorrespondent IMay 6, 2011

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 03:  Jack Campbell #1 of the United States makes a save on Sean Couturier #7 of Canada during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship Semi Final game between United States and Canada on January 3, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

In the latest installment of Isles On the Clock, we take a look at Sean Couturier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL).

What NHL Central Scouting is saying: 

Chris Borderleau

“At his size, he'll be hard to pass up in the draft. He possesses a very good work ethic and he's out there for every important faceoff. He's very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game -- a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey."

 Chris Edwards 

“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. He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively.” 

Sean Couturier is going to be an excellent hockey player in the NHL. Before this season, he was projected to be atop the 2011 draft class, having led the QMJHL in scoring as a 17-year-old, the first time that's happened since Sidney Crosby did it for the Rimouski Oceanic. 

His stock fell though, not because of a drop-off in his performance, but because other players, such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog, moved up. 

Couturier showed the same dazzling potential in 2010-11, finishing with 96 points for the second consecutive year. 

It's no wonder he has scouts dropping their jaws in unison. He's as good as advertised, a top prospect who's going to be very productive at the NHL level. 

Should he still be available at fifth overall, I have a tough time believing that the Isles would pass on him. The possibility of a ridiculous one-two punch down the middle, consisting of John Tavares and Sean Couturier, could prove to be an irresistible one.

As I've stressed before, when we talked about some of the other prospects in this draft (Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Strome), if Garth Snow does draft a center, it absolutely tells me that he's not sold on Josh Bailey becoming the player the Islanders envisioned he would.

If Couturier became a star, the Isles' brass will have a decision to make regarding what to do with their top pick from the 2008 draft. 

That's a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. 

I think the Islanders' priority in Minnesota needs to be defense. I'm going to tell you which name Snow should call at the podium on draft day in the final segment of Isles On the Clock. 

Having said that, Sean Couturier is the only player in this draft (that could realistically fall to New York at fifth overall) that I truly feel would be worth taking instead of a defenseman.


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