There will be no contract year for Sean Couturier.
Alpha Flyers’ midsection dog on Thursday signed an eight-year, $62 million contract extension. Couturier is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season.
As he develops into a 2019-20 Selke Trophy winner and a true do-it-all, Couturier is a bargainer on his current six-year, $26 million contract. The deal, which does not have another year left, has an average annual value of $4.333 million. Couturier’s new AAV contract worth $7.75 million.
Managing Director Chuck Fletcher said the deal contains a full no-action clause that turns into a limited in-action clause over the last year in 2029-30.
“He’s an excellent player,” Fletcher said. “It’s an excellent contract.”
On top of the plus, the 28-year-old deserves to be safe in the long run. Among the NHL positions since the start of the 2017-18 season, Couturier has ranked sixth in head-to-head ratio (56.6 – minimum 3000 taken), seventh in minutes per game (20:56), tied for seventh in doubles strengths (166), eighth In goal difference on the ice at equal strength (plus 65), 12th place in the shortened minutes (572:07), tied in 13th place in goals (104) and tied in 16th place in points (252).
“To be part of the Flyers organization for another eight years after next year is very exciting,” Couturier said in a statement released by the team. “I like the way the team is built and the mix of players we have. I’m really looking forward to that but especially this year. We’ve made a lot of changes, but they are all very positive and exciting.”
Couturier missed 11 games due to injuries during the highly disappointing Flyers campaign 2020-21. In the second match of the season, he suffered a costochondral separation and had to miss the next 10 matches. He’s also dealt with a previous groin problem, which forced him to miss a match in March against the Islanders and had lingering effects.
Given the circumstances, Couturier has still had a very solid season. Despite being a minus player only for the second time in his career (minus 4), Couturier won his third consecutive trophy for Bobby Clarke as the team’s best player, led the Flyers forward with 19:20 minutes per game, and finished second to the club in goals ( 18) and the fourth with points (41).
But the Flyers team scored 3.52 goals per game and did not make the playoffs.
“It was a grinding process,” Couturier said at his end-of-season press conference in May. “I only played 45 and it was hard. Especially when I missed that match there on the island and came back, it probably took me seven to 10 days to get my leg back and I didn’t feel as good as before that injury. But yeah, it was hard to recover of any kind. From small injuries, so it was difficult. But every team went through this schedule. Maybe it was a little more difficult Because COVID hit us, but we needed to be better and we weren’t good enough.”
(More is coming …)
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