After being drafted 8th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Couturier was quick to make a good first impression.
At 18 years of age, Couturier impressed the Flyers manangement at rookie camp, then earned a spot on the team in training camp. I believe it is safe to say that he exceeded the expectations of most.
In his rookie year, Sean showcased his defensive style of play. His strong work defensively, on the penalty kill unit, and in the offensive zone made him an effective two-way forward for the Flyers.
While Couturier's offensive skill set is continuing to develop, he was able to put up decent points in his NHL debut season. In seventy-seven games, he scored 13 goals and tallied 14 assists, for a total of 27 points. Two of those goals came when shorthanded, a situation that Sean specializes in. He was a plus-18 player when the season came to an end.
The pressure did not get to 19-year-old Sean Couturier in the playoffs. In eleven games, he managed to put up four points. In Game 2 of the Pittsburgh series, he scored his first career hat trick, becoming the second youngest player to do so in a playoff game.
It is important to note that Paul Holmgren and the Flyers management see him as a key piece in their future. Couturier, who has been sought for in return for players such as Shea Weber and Rick Nash, has been deemed "untouchable" by Holmgren. That should show you just how highly the Flyers think of Sean.
After looking back and seeing what Sean Couturier did in his rookie season, Flyers fans can tell that he is a very special player. You can look ahead and see that his future is indeed a bright one.....
Many see him becoming one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL. He has been compared to Jordan Staal, but he reminds me of someone different..
Mike Richards. Like Richards, Couturier is extremely effective on the penalty kill and in the defensive zone in general. They both are not seen as big goal scorers, and I think that Couturier's numbers will be very similar to those of Mike Richards' as his career progresses.
I can also see Sean stepping in to a position of leadership at some point in his career. When he becomes a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, I can see Paul Holmgren wanting to lock up Couturier for a long time. His hard work on the ice and good work ethic off would make him a good future assistant captain for the Flyers.
Sean Couturier is also extremely capable of playing a shut-down role. In the playoffs, he was given the job of covering Evgeni Malkin and not only just about shut him down completely, but frustrated him to the point that he took stupid penalties.
You know that when you have a 19-year-old on your team who can shut down one of the best players in the NHL, he is a really special player.
Flyers fans really liked what they saw from Sean Couturier this season. He is going to be a really fun player to watch get better and better, and eventually become one of the best two-way forwards in the league.
Andrew Dintino is a Lead Contributor/Flyers Analyst for Buzz on Broad.
You can follow him on twitter @AndrewD48 for the latest news regarding the Philadelphia Flyers.
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