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Couturier stronger, faster after rough sophomore season

Sep 17, 2013, 9:01 AM EDT

Sean Couturier AP

Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier‘s second season in the NHL hardly went as planned. He seemed to regress defensively and ended up with just 15 points in 46 games. The good news is that sophomore slumps are nothing new and third-year rebounds happen too.

When asked what he needs to improve on in 2013-14, Couturier told CSN Philly, “I think my whole game.”

If there was a silver lining to the Flyers missing the playoffs, it’s that it gave Couturier a longer offseason to work towards that. He added roughly eight pounds over the summer and his burst speed has improved.

“The first 10 feet is where he needed to be quicker,” Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube said. “That’s where people like Jake Voracek get away from guys — they get off, then they’re gone. That’s where he had to get quicker for me. Once he gets going, he’s fine. You pull away from people and create space for yourself.”

Couturier had two assists in Monday’s preseason contest, but he was playing on a line with Jason Akeson and Voracek. When the season opens, he’ll likely be skating alongside Matt Read and one of Marcel Noebels, Tye McGinn, and Michael Raffl on the team’s third line.

Philadelphia isn’t counting on the 20-year-old forward to break out in 2013-14, but they do need his line to be sound defensively and chip in a bit offensively. Whether or not Couturier is a major factor in how effective Philadelphia’s bottom-six is this season.

  1. twpguy1964 - Sep 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Couturier is a great talent but he’s slow overall… He seemingly “regressed”, as you put it, because he was bounced around all the time, that has to stop. This head coach needs to define his role, nobody knows what exactly it is. One night he’s a defense only, next night it’s an assist man than over and over

    • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      IMO, one of the biggest issues with Couturier’s development last was simple: inability in the faceoff dot. It was a problem that plagued the entire team (besides Giroux and Hall) and was a major contributing factor to why the club was so bad 5-on-5. Couturier had a lower +/- bc he was losing defensive zone draws which led to quick goals against, while simultaneously losing the few offensive draws he took, which made it difficult to score as he’s not great at carrying the puck into the offensive zone. If he’s dedicated time to the dot it will certainly help his development. And as a team, they should be improved with Lecavalier on board (over Briere), and Hall full-time.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        *last season

  2. mcphillthy - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Couturier is still only 20 years old. He hasn’t even grown into his body yet and it may honestly take another 2-3 years before he fully learns how to even use his added size and strength. I don’t think his full potential is reached for another couple years. There was no regression. He was part of a team that had a bad season (for many reasons) and to point any finger at him is just ridiculous. He is going to be a very good player as he fills out.

  3. matthews4 - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Once again Homey strikes, a bottom 6 forward ? I guess when Dougie Hamilton is top 2 d-man by next year and Hextall is the new GM , Homey’s failure will be complete. Just sayin……

    • narfmoo12 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Wow. So which center does he replace on the top 2 lines? Giroux or LeCavalier? Or maybe you want to change him to a winger? But then does he replace Voracek, Hartnell, Simmonds, or Schenn/Read? And doesn’t moving him to wing stunt his growth as a shut-down defensive center? Maybe being on the 3rd line is good for a 20 year old. Nah… throw him on the top line!

    • twpguy1964 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Hamilton is a top 2 defenseman? Not even in your dreams! At least the flyers dont draft a kid 2nd overall and then trade him 2 years later jacka**

      • twpguy1964 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        oh but wait, they did lmao

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