The Philadelphia Flyers have extended one of the best two-way centers in hockey. On the same day that Andrei Svechnikov signed an eight-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flyers inked the 2020 Selke Trophy winner to an almost identical deal, as he was given an 8-year, $62 million extension – 8 x $7.75 million.
The big difference for the Flyers and the Couturier deal, versus the one signed between the Hurricanes and Svechnikov is that Couturier will turn 30 two months after the new deal starts. That means, when his eight-year pact runs out, he’ll be 38 years old. He’s got one season remaining at $4.33 million.
Responses to the deal are mixed. Some know how good Couturier is and how important he is to the Flyers organization. Others don’t like the term on this contract and wonder how much the player will regress by age of 32 or 33. While the contract will considered a deal for a while, it may be hard to move the contract in the latter years.
At the same time, the reason Philadelphia was able to get him locked in at a contract that started with a number less than 8 was likely because of the eight years. It’s hard to know where the salary cap will be in five or six seasons and perhaps this won’t be as big an issue at it appears it could be today.
President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Chuck Fletcher said of the deal, “We are excited to announce Sean’s long term extension with the Flyers today.” He added, “As one of the premier two-way centers in the NHL, Sean has the rare talent to shut down opposing team’s top players while also contributing at a high offensive level.” Fletcher also talked about how important Couturier is to the dressing room and leadership core of the team.
Couturier Is An Analytics Darling
Looking at what the player offers now, not only has he come into his own offensively, he’s done so without sacrificing defense. The analytics community absolutely adores this player and would make a strong case that this contract will be of massive value for a good portion of the contract.
While he might not make the list of most fans and wouldn’t probably be among the Top 20 names selected in a draft pool, on a stats basis, Couturier ranks as one of the Top 10 centers in the NHL.
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