Flyers name Sean Couturier their new captain

Flyers name Sean Couturier their new captain originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers have a new captain: Sean Couturier.

The 31-year-old center is in his 12th season with the organization. He was drafted eighth overall by the club in 2011.

The Flyers did not have a captain since March 2022, when they traded Claude Giroux.

Couturier has made an impressive comeback this season after missing almost 22 months because of two back surgeries.

"He's a crusty, old pro," head coach John Tortorella said last Saturday. "He's a huge part of this."

Travis Konecny was also named an alternate captain, joining Scott Laughton in the team's leadership group.

"Sean Couturier is an ideal choice to be the next leader of the Philadelphia Flyers," general manager Danny Briere, Couturier's former teammate, said in a statement released by the team. "Sean was drafted here and has made Philadelphia his home. I have personally seen his development from a responsible forward to one of the best two-way centermen in the game and a playoff performer.

"The adversity he has had to overcome has only strengthened his proven leadership. In this new era of orange with Dan Hilferty, Keith Jones and John Tortorella at the helm, we couldn't be more proud to call him captain."

Last April, Couturier said he wanted to be "a part of this rebuild from the ground up."

"It's such a great honor," Couturier said in a statement released by the team. "It's a really prestigious organization so this makes it even more special. This city is my home and I love it here. It's going to be business as usual for me. Nothing is really going to change from me or my game and how I approach things. I love my teammates, how we have grown as a group and I want to make sure we keep going on the right path here."

The Flyers' alpha dog down the middle has been a big reason why the organization is making a surprise playoff push this season. In 50 games, Couturier has put up 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) and a plus-7 mark. His 19:44 minutes per game are the second highest among Flyers forwards and his 53.1 faceoff win percentage leads the team.

"I'm not sure if he opens up on the bench, but everybody trusts him," Tortorella said after the home opener. "I think he just brings that calming presence to our team."

Couturier, a modest, lead-by-example type, is in Year 2 of an eight-year, $62 million contract. He made his NHL debut with the Flyers at 18 years old. If he stays in Philadelphia for the entirety of this contract, he'll wear a Flyers jersey at 37 years old.

"I think it would be 18 or 19 years if I play this out all the way until the end; you don't really see that much anymore," Couturier said in August 2021. "It would obviously be an honor. I've always loved Philly, through the ups and downs."

Couturier is fifth on the franchise's all-time list for games played (771). He won the 2019-20 Selke Trophy (NHL's top defensive forward) and has won the Bobby Clarke Trophy (Flyers MVP) three times.

In the arduous recovery from his back injury, his appreciation for the game grew.

"It's something that, I think when you're out for such a long time, you feel at sometimes you almost take it for granted," Couturier said in March 2023. "That's definitely something I've kind of learned, that when I'm back, enjoy it as much as you can, every moment. You never know when something like this can happen."

And how it all might be a part of the hard-earned path for a Flyers captain.

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