Wanted to start off by saying sorry for the long absence with posts. With summer being here and Flyers not playing, work and vacations posting is hard to come by.
I decided to make this next post about, in my mind, the most impressive rookie in the orange and black this season, number 14 Sean Couturier. I admit when the Flyers decided to keep him up in the NHL after his allotted games were completed, I was a little nervous. Couturier showed amazing promise, especially with his time in the Q, but I was nervous for two main reasons. First reason was his role on the team. A kid with that much talent, I felt, should not be subject to a 4th line role seeing scarce minutes. Thus I thought it would have been better for his development to play one more season in the Q to refine his skill set and give him a proper workload. I did however understand that it would be a “man playing among boys” and probably would not be much of a challenge for Sean back in the Q. However on the reverse side, how I stated previously, it might be too big of a jump to play in the NHL and hinder his development with low minutes.
I had the pleasure to watch Couturier in action when the Flyers prospects played the Capitals prospects down at the Wells Fargo Center. You could see his potential with every shift, but also could see there is a lot of work to be done in his development. I paid close attention to him throughout preseason and early on in the regular season, one of his glaring weaknesses was his strength. Watching highlights/games of him in the Q you could tell a big part of his game was protecting the puck while being hard to knock off the puck and then making plays from there. Only being 18 years old (at the time) I did not expect him to come in at the NHL and be a powerhouse on the puck but you could easily see his was not where he needed to be physically. Early on you could see Couturier getting bodied off the puck easily an unable to shield off defending players simply because of their maturity and strength compared to his.
Whelp I had my foot shoved in my mouth by the end of the season. The amount of progress in this young players game was phenomenal. You could tell very much Couturier gained strength throughout the season and was more of an animal along the boards. Every time he ended a shift it always left me saying, “how is this kid doing all this at 19 years of age?” Now while Couturier did not put up flashy numbers or make crazy highlight reel plays, he still put up respectable numbers for a 19 year old (13G, 14A, and a +18) while also being the teams best defensive forward. Now I know Matt Read was crazy good this year as well (as a rookie), but the amount of improvement and poise that Sean Couturier had as the season progressed really impressed me, and is why he is in my mind the Flyers most impressive rookie. Also I have recognize his face offs. There were only 5 other rookie centers in the league with better face off percentage then Couturier and four of them took at least 400 less face offs. Couturier operated at 47% while attempting 804 face offs this season.
Looking forward to the upcoming 2012-2013 season (hopefully), I would love to see Couturier move away from a strict defensive role and be more involved with the offense. We are talking about a kid who at age 17 and 18 put up back-to-back 96-point seasons in the Q. This kid can be an offensive beast, and he will be in the NHL at some point. I truly believe throughout the offseason Couturier will work his rear end off to become stronger and faster. He is too much of a smart, respectable and modest player not to. As far as I am concerned after Giroux, Couturier is the next name on the “Do not touch list” (meaning trade). The Flyers would be doing Sean, the team and the city of Philadelphia a disservice if they did not tap into the offensive potential of this kid.
Keep voting for Giroux to put him on the cover of NHL13, 24 hours left for voting! Lets get a Flyer on the cover!
Follow me on twitter: @EbbonDerr
And as always check into my blog site: www.toughbrotherlylove.squarespace.com
There are no comments to display.