Claude Giroux got the night off. So did Scott Hartnell Max Talbot and even Zac Rinaldo. Not Sean Couturier. The third-year center logged 20:42 more than any other Flyers forward in a 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils the Flyers’ second loss to their division rival this week. By rule teams must have eight veterans in the lineup for exhibition games and at only 20 years of age that’s what Couturier is now. The 2011 first-round pick saw his role increase as he matured through his first two years and this year figures to be more of the same. “His first year he came in and did a nice job for our team” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Last year he took on different roles. Some nights we count on him for offense. Other nights we ask him to check against top lines.” Thursday night he was on the top power-play unit. He saw a little time on the man advantage last season but this year he might see even more. “In juniors I’ve had a lot of power play time and a lot of different situations” Couturier said. “Obviously I’d like to have that opportunity but at the same time I can’t complain. I’m still a young player still developing and learning. My time will come and hopefully in the future I can have that type of role too.” Meantime his line is still being ironed out. He centered Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds Thursday because Vinny Lecavalier was also scratched. Come next week when the regular season begins he will likely center the third line with Matt Read and Talbot. He’s looking to rebound from a sophomore season in which he had only four goals in 46 games. His rookie year he wasn’t counted on for much offense. He was a shut-down center for the Flyers keeping Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin relatively quiet in a six-game playoff series.
Couturier continues to develop
Courier-Post | Sep 27