Couturier preps to avoid sophomore slump
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08-25-2012, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: London Ontario
Originally Posted by
I didn't say he was going to be a bust. I don't think he's going to be a bust. I love how he plays and I think he has a lot of potential and at the very least will be a very good #2 center. That being said, the people who are saying he's going to be "neck and neck with Giroux as the best player on the team", calling him a franchise player, saying to move the best player on the team to a different position for him, and acting like they wouldn't trade him for anybody are overrating him as his the poster predicting a Seguin-esque sophomore season for him. Seguin has much more raw offensive potential to him.
Martin Hanzal was a first round pick. He was excellent defensively, put up 35 points his rookie year. Here we are 5 seasons later and that's still his season high. He's a very good shut down center, who I've always expected more from.
Sam Gagner had 41 points his rookie year. Oilers fans were talking him up (i.e., the poll where they all said Gagner was going to be better than Giroux). He's a high first round pick who was supposed to get better. His defense is not nearly good enough and his offense is stagnant years later. I always hear about Couturier's hat trick. Well, Sam Gagner had an 8 point game and that doesn't change my opinion of him.
Brandon Sutter had 40 points his sophomore season. He's great defensively. All Hurricane fans I talked too said all he had to do was bulk up and get stronger. He's never reached that point total since and wasn't even a 2nd line center on a weak Hurricanes team. He, too, was a high round pick.
I don't think Couturier will be any of those players. I personally think he'll be a slightly more offensive version of Patrice Bergeron. That's a great player and a "special" player. Maybe he'll be more and I won't be surprised if he is. But people acting like he's going to be a bonafide superstar and the second coming of Giroux is why I think Flyers fans overrate him. Schenn and he have a lot to prove before they enter the Richards/Bergeron/Kesler or the Toews/Kopitar/Spezza territory, let alone the next level of centers where Giroux is.
I beg to differ. I think Couturier has just as much raw offensive ability as Seguin does. You mention all these other guys when comparing Couturier (Hanzal, Sutter, Gagner), but Couturier has a track record of being good offensively. Hanzal only averaged more than a point per game in CHL junior season and that was done when he was 19 - 20 years old. Gagner only played one season in the OHL - the highest scoring league in all of junior hockey (I still think Edmonton ruined his development, but that's another story) and Sutter has never been a point per game player anywhere he's been.
Couturier's hockey sense, when compared to those guys, is another planet. You can't compare Couturier to those guys. As for comparing him to Bergeron or Kesler or Richards, Sean put up similar numbers while playing considerably less than those three did in their rookie years. On top of it, Couturier played the toughest minutes out of all those guys and did so while playing the most demanding role - shut down center. That is an INCREDIBLY tough position to play and for a 19 year old to do and do it in such an impressive fashion, that's what makes everyone think he's right up there with Giroux.
On top of it, we saw a sampling of his offensive ability last year. He's got an excellent shot and he managed to get a career year out of Maxim Talbot. Just wait until Couturier gets top notch linemates who can finish off his passes or who can pass to him. A lot of the offense that Couturier generated last year was done practically by himself.
The guy is a Ron Francis clone. And if you ask Lemieux, Jagr, Recchi, Stevens, Tocchet, Barasso, etc.....all those guys from the Pittsburgh championships, they'll tell you that Francis was the most important player during those championship wins. Couturier plays so much like Francis, it's going to be scary once he fills out that 6'3 frame and he gets better linemates. And yes, he probably will replace Giroux as the top center and Giroux will probably move to the wing to accommodate that move.
Yes, very excited about Couturier because he has the skill and he'll be given the opportunity to put up fantastic numbers. You're talking about a high end center who can beat you in so many ways. There's no forward on the team right now that is his defensive equal. Once he's given the opportunity to play more on the offensive side, the man is going to be a killer. All the folks in Edmonton can have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I'll take Couturier any day of the week and it's not close.
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