Tim's Twitter Q&A: Couturier's offensive ceiling

Tim's Twitter Q&A: Couturier's offensive ceiling

SportsNite: Flyers extend win streak to five

March 23, 2014, 12:00 pm
Share This Post

Sean Couturier has 10 goals and 25 assists this season. (AP)

We’ve already seen Sean Couturier go up against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, and Tyler Seguin and just run them into the ice.

Three assists. That was their combined stats over three games.

Which is what a shutdown centerman is supposed to do.

In a short three seasons, the 21-year-old who was born in Phoenix, but enjoys dual citizenship while competing internationally for Canada, has proven himself capable of being an elite defensive player who plays the angles on the league’s toughest forwards and comes out ahead.

The question many have, however, is whether Couturier’s defensive prowess has come at the expense of offense.

This is a 40-goal player who averaged 96 points his final two years in junior. He was and can once again become a gifted scorer.

His NHL rookie year, he had 13 goals. He’s on pace to match that now, but he’s capable of scoring a lot more. If, perhaps, the Flyers get him a more offensive-minded scorer on the left side.

Michael Raffl seems a better fit than Steve Downie, but Raffl is not drawing full-time duty there.

But do the Flyers need 20 goals or more from Couturier a season? Mike Richards routinely picked up votes for the Selke Trophy and scored more than that as a Flyer.

Couturier is cut into that same defensive mold.

So our Twitter question this week was:

If Couturier is comfortable routinely scoring 15 goals but continues to handle the toughest defensive assignments, is that enough to ask of him to be considered a success as a Flyer?

Here are your responses:

A: I think fans have really changed their tune on this and agree with you this year. Before, there was the discussion that Couturier is capable of delivering so much more offensively. Now people see his real value. If they ever solve the issue at left wing on that line, the goals will come.

A: I think there will be constant reference to Mike Richards, who did both and was a goal scorer.

A: Right now, that’s an issue because of Brayden Schenn/Vinny Lecavalier pairing. The other side to this is: What if Couturier had a better, more offensive-minded left wing to work with him?

A: Interesting comparison. Otto won a Stanley Cup in Calgary. Offensively, he never hit his mark here as a Flyer when many felt he could have been a 15- to 20-goal guy. But he was a superb defensive center.

A: A lot of fans felt earlier this season that he needed to be an offensive force like he was in junior, scoring 96 points each of his last two years.

A: Couturier’s begins a two-year extension next season worth a very underpaid $1.75 million, so that likely won’t be an issue.

A: He could finish with 12-13 goals and easily 30-plus assists this season.

A: No easy task

A: Great response!

A: Every team needs this kind of player and Couturier has quickly established himself as one of the best at a very young age -- just 21.

A: Mike Richards got a lot of annual votes from the Philly chapter of the PHWA but not enough from around the league to ever win a Selke.

A: They always seem to have too many centers.

A: Very good point.