After a summer of much trade speculation especially involving Sean Couturier, it was sort of surprising that Ron Hextall showed a long term commitment to Couturier by signing him to a 6-year contract extension.
The reason behind this long term commitment was the belief that Couturier would develop his offensive game and become an elite two way center such as Ryan Kesler or David Backes in the near future. With 17 games completed in the 2015-16 season, his scoring numbers are less then impressive with only 1 goal and 3 assists. Simply put, these are underwhelming numbers. What is alarming about these numbers is that Couturier is actually playing the best offensive game of his career so far this season (See Chart Below).
Right now his Corsi For/60 is the highest its been in his career, meaning when he’s on the ice there are a ton of shot attempts for his team. As high as his Corsi for/60 is right now, Couturier only has 4 points this year. To me this means that even at his best, Couturier still can’t score and still can’t make plays that result in goals. Basically as good as he is defensively, he simply doesn’t have offensive talent. So if the Flyers are ok with Couturier simply being a shut down guy and chipping in a goal every 10 games, then fine – keep him. If they are expecting him to score 20 goals, then there better off trading him. The reason why is because his trade value is higher than what he’s worth because of the potential people see in him.
From the rumors I’ve heard, Sean Couturier brings back a 1st round pick or high level prospect in any trade. With the Flyers ailing for high level forward prospects, Couturier could help that cause. For example, a team like the Coyotes could use a guy like Couturier’s skill set and would most likely be willing to trade a Nick Merkley or Christian Dvorak for him. Acquiring either of those two wingers would definitely help speed up the rebuild as they are both young and not far from being NHL regulars. Obviously the Flyers would lose Couturier in this deal but with Paul Gaustad a free agent after this year, would the Flyers really lose that much if they replaced Couturier with Gaustad? There numbers are relatively the same (advanced and standard) and the Flyers would help their long term plans through this too. The Flyers would then have Travis Konecny, Nick Merkley, and most likely another top end forward prospect from the 2016 draft. Just food for thought.