Is Flyers' Sean Couturier still too low among NHL Network's top-20 centers?

Jordan Hall
·2 min read

Is Couturier still too low among NHL's top-20 centers? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It's nice to see Sean Couturier at least be noticed as one of the game's top-20 centers.

Prior to the 2019-20 season, Couturier was omitted from such a recognition by the NHL Network, which left Kevin Hayes scratching his head in July. This time around, Couturier cracked the NHL Network's list of top-20 centers, coming in at No. 18.

Not to get too greedy, but that still seems a tad low.

I made the mistake of listing Couturier at No. 19 on my own list in August 2019. Granted, Couturier was not coming off a Selke Trophy season then. This time, he is, and it earned him a place just inside the NHL Network's top 20.

He has gotten some league-wide love now but that doesn't mean he shouldn't warrant more.

Over the last three seasons, only three NHL centers have more even strength points than Couturier's 166: Connor McDavid (219), Leon Draisaitl (194) and Nathan MacKinnon (188).

Not bad company.

Also among NHL centers over that span, Couturier ranks fifth in plus-minus (plus-57), sixth in time on ice per game (21:15), tied for sixth in faceoff win percentage (56.5), seventh in shorthanded minutes (480:33), and 16th in goals (86) and assists (125).

And, finally, among all NHL forwards since 2017-18, Couturier is the only one to rank in the top 10 of both even strength points (tied for ninth) and shorthanded minutes (10th).

There aren't many forwards that do as much as he does.

Maybe he's not as flashy as the other centers listed, maybe he's just starting to receive comparable power play opportunities to the rest in order to put up greater numbers.

The good thing is the Flyers fully recognize what they have in Couturier.

"I can tell you, the people in this room, the people that play with him every day, they notice him," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said in December.

Following the next two seasons, Couturier will be noticed with a new contract and hard-earned payday.

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