Thursday, October 13, 2011
There was an intriguing NHL game on TSN last night between the Vancouver Canucks and the Philidelphia Flyers. It was the kind of match that head coaches despise and fans long for. There were many nice goals with an abundance of skill on display, but there was also some inexcusable defensive breakdowns.The player I focused on was 18 year old forward Sean Couturier. Sean is one of the 8 or 9 players selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft that is still with his respective NHL club. From a scouting perspective, I must confess that my only exposure to Sean was seeing him play in last year's World Junior Tournament. His play in that tournament showed me that he thought the game at an elite level, that is, he displayed a high level of hockey sense. The only concern I had for his future development was that he did not posses a smooth skating stride. In last nights game vs Vancouver Sean's play was impressive on a number of levels. He set up a goal by Jakub Voracek with a beautiful pass that displayed great poise and vision of the ice. I believe Sean has the potential to be a significant offensive contributor at the NHL level. However, he is a unique prospect n the sense that he can still be an asset to the Flyers without producing goals and assists. It was startling to see him along with Max Talbot as the Flyers' top penalty killing tandem. The coaching staff has supreme confidence in his defensive play, as they gave Sean the ultimate compliment by playing him alot in the final minutes of a game in which they held a 1 goal lead. Heady stuff for an 18 year old. I know it is very early in the season, but based on his performance last night, I would be shocked if Sean did not stay the full year in Philidelphia.