Sean Couturier has been money in the bank lately, and in the back of the net.
The Flyers' center has recorded a goal in four straight games and is currently on pace to easily top the 30-goal mark for the second straight season.
It’s the contractual gift that keeps on giving, and along with replenishing the current prospect pool, Couturier’s contract may be one of the best items of business that Ron Hextall gave the Flyers organization before his ouster.
In the summer of 2015, Hextall extended Couturier for six more years at $26 million, or an average annual value of $4.3 million per season. At the time it was a sizable raise (over 200 percent) for a third-line center who had yet to top 15 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons.
The conventional wisdom at that time surrounding the Flyers' 2011 first-round pick was how he needed to take another step in his development to justify such a significant pay raise.
Now, it’s a complete steal.
Couturier’s transformation into a two-way player began last year as he broke through with a 31-goal, 76-point season in 2017-18 and finished second to Los Angeles’s Anze Kopitar in the Selke trophy voting as the league’s top defensive forward.
The defense has been a constant throughout Couturier’s eight-year NHL career, but his offensive explosion over his last 130-plus games may be why the Flyers have one of the most desirable non entry-level contracts in the entire league. Tampa Bay may have the biggest bargain in Brayden Point, but the Lightning center will see a sizable raise as an RFA this summer.