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Will Flyers promising young forwards break out this season?

Aug 30, 2013, 3:05 PM EDT

Sean Couturier AP

It’s interesting to note that while Philadelphia Flyers forwards Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek took major steps forward last season to become team leaders, they weren’t the centerpieces of their respective trades in the summer of 2011.

Although Simmonds was an important part of his transaction, the seemingly big addition when the Philadelphia Flyers shipped Mike Richards to Los Angeles was top prospect Brayden Schenn. Similarly, Columbus sacrificed the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, along with Voracek, to get Jeff Carter. The Flyers used that pick to draft Sean Couturier.

While the more established players that Philadelphia got back have worked out nicely, the jury is still out on Couturier and Schenn. Both are promising and have the potential to turn the Flyers’ already strong offense into arguably the best in the NHL. At the same time, their first two campaigns with the Flyers have been a mixed bag.

Brayden Schenn, after being united older brother Luke Schenn, did show signs of improvement in 2013. The younger Schenn scored eight goals and 26 points in 47 games and might have been able to do even better with more playing time. As it is, he averaged a moderate 15:32 minutes per contest.

He’s a candidate to play a bigger role this season as a top-six forward. With 110 NHL games now under his belt and at the age of 22, this figures to be an important campaign for him.

Couturier is a bigger question mark after struggling last season with just four goals and 15 points in 46 contests. He was also minus-eight after being plus-18 in his 2011-12 rookie campaign.

“I think that a lot of times there’s always that expectation when players come in that first year and they’re contributing a certain way, there’ll be that jump to new heights in the second year, but it doesn’t always work that way,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told NHL.com. “Sean still played good games and played well defensively.”

Certainly, Couturier isn’t the first player to suffer from a sophomore slump and it similarly wouldn’t be shocking to see him bounce back in his third NHL season.

The other major young X-factor among Philadelphia’s group of forwards is Scott Laughton. He enjoyed a five-game stint with the Flyers in 2013 before he was returned to the OHL Oshawa Generals.

Laughton had his best season with the Generals to date, recording 56 points and 72 penalty minutes in 49 contests. The 19-year-old impressed Flyers director of player development Ian Laperriere with his attitude following the demotion, according to NHL.com.

The 19-year-old forward is going into this season with a chance of making the team and although he’s certainly not as big a breakout candidate in 2013-14 as Couturier and Schenn, all three have the potential to be important pieces with the Flyers for years to come.

  1. tru2joelu4eva - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    i have to say that i’m quite disappointed in how civilized and reasonable most of today’s flyers comment threads have been. on that note, crosby is a god and i was wondering, why doesn’t claude giroux want to be on the canadian olympic team? kind of selfish, isn’t it?

    • mikedmcclain - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      my friend’s step-sister makes $75 every hour on the internet. She has been laid off for six months but last month her pay check was $15611 just working on the internet for a few hours. site… http://xurl.es/30yup

    • isithockeyseasonyet - Aug 30, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      You should be ashamed how awful a troll you are, I hope (although i doubt) you’re better at life than trolling

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Looks like PHT sure loves riding the Flyers today with there garbage

    • philafly - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Look down the list of articles and you will see that it’s “Philadelphia Flyers Day” on PHT so stop crying.

    • biasedhomer - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Thanks for telling those who don’t know yet that you are a complete idiot.

    • laxman1944 - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Just as much as you yearn to ride “Flowers”.

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        It’s their, not there btw and the word ‘rules’ has an ‘s’ on the end, not a z
        ‘Z’….if you’re not a 15 year old girl, I’d consider getting out the noose if I were you

  3. martysbetter - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    “Couturier may have struggled last season, but I have full confidence he’ll bounce back.

    After all, he’s so composed out there on the ice. Seriously, he’s just so composed – it’s amazing to see a 20 year old on the ice out there just so composed with his game. I think his strength lies in his composure, honestly…its like he doesn’t even realize how incredibly composed he is out there, he just plays his game.

    I think there should be the “Couturier Trophy” handed out every year for the most composed player in the league, obviously “Couts” would win every year but it’d be interesting to see who could carry the torch once he retires.”

    - Pierre McGuire

  4. Stiller43 - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Well he also says he’s in college, yet he clearly doesnt know the difference between “there” and “their”…so yeah, i wouldnt guess reading is high on his skills list.

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    They better. Especially Schenn. At one point, he was regarded as one of the best prospects in the NHL. He has shown glimpses of that from time to time but the Flyers need him to be consistent.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      Even if Schenn doesn’t live up to expectations this season I wouldn’t give up on him. He’s still only 21. Most players aren’t even in the league at that age. But I do believe he’ll reach the 20goal plateau this season playing on a line with Simmonds and Lecavalier.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 31, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        I agree with you but Ed Snider is 80 years old. He doesn’t want to wait around for these kids to develop in 3-4 years. He needs production now and at large volumes. I like Schenn and Couts. I hope they stay for the next 10 years.

  6. flydommo - Aug 31, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    The Flyers’ offense obviously has a lot of recently untapped potential, including both veteran players and younger players. Having an established centre with a Stanley Cup ring added should improve the forwards’ chances of bouncing back after a disappointing campaign last season. I am looking forward to an exciting season and expect the Flyers to finish in the top six of their conference.

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