Sean Couturier looked like a star last night. The two-way forward had two goals and two assists as he made a major impact on both ends of the ice in a dominant 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on the road.
Couturier or “Coots” as his teammates call him is really rounding into form. He has always been a well above average defensive forward. He is great on the penalty kill and at times takes on the assignment of covering the opposition’s best offensive player. As with many young forwards his offensive game just needed to be developed.
Couturier is on a hot streak right now. He has four goals in his last four games to go along with six points. Many wonder what has been the difference, and I think it is the coaching change. Ever since Craig Berube replaced Peter Laviolette early on in the season after a historically bad start for the Philadelphia Flyers, the team has started playing much more disciplined and sound hockey.
That includes Couturier. He is getting more opportunities and minutes offensively, and that has made all the difference. Remember, this is a kid that was an absolute star in the postseason a few years ago as a 19 year old so the offensive upside is certainly there.
If Couturier can develop into the team’s second offensive option after Claude Giroux it would go a long, long way. The best clubs have two guys they can rely on. The Chicago Blackhawks have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The Pittsburgh Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
While Couturier may never get to that level offensively I believe he can more than hold his own. He fits in the mold of a Patrice Bergeron as a guy who can be effective on both sides of the ice and make a major impact on the game without filling up the stat sheet.
The young talent of the Flyers is finally starting to come to the surface. If guys like Couturier and Brayden Schenn take that next step the sky is the limit for this team. Couturier is getting there, and he looks like the next star in orange and black.