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10-24-2013, 10:07 AM
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I think some people overrate Couturier's defensive acumen at this stage. Yes, he has been deployed against tough competition, but he hasn't really done that a great job against them. Sure, there have been a couple high profile performances against Malkin/Crosby but it's not like they've solved those guys with Coots...they still get over 1 pt per game against him and the Flyers.

People like to cite the quality of comeptition and zone starts as a point to justify their view of how good/great the kid is defensively, but when you look at the end result of this, it has been quite poor. The stat showing goals allowed against while Coots is on the ice has been poor and doesn't rank that favorably against other NHL forwards that also face solid competition...also his PK work is poor compared to others on the team and he's made some bad turnovers. It seems he's improved his faceoffs but was pretty weak last season. I think you have to question, as many have, the wisdom of such a strategy of using a 19/20 yr old kid in the way he's been used so far.

That said, I (still) advocate a patient approach with Coots. He's way too young to conclude he's a bust or a future Selke candidate for that matter. From what I see, he needs to improve his skating and be deployed in a way that better utlizes his offensive tools...he needs to mature into his frame and gain confidence, which is common for players of his 2-3 years we should start seeing what the kid's really about...that can get sketchy in terms of his value in trade...right now he's still perceived to be valuable given his age/size/draft position etc., but that may not be the case if his game doesn't get traction in that time.

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