Despite Flyers’ uncertainty, Couturier still believes in this cast

Sean Couturier

He’s the leader of the Flyers’ next generation and he still believes the current cast, including a handful of 30-somethings, can get the job done.

Sean Couturier was last year’s runner-up to the Selke Trophy, which amounts to an award for best two-way player in the NHL.

Couturier, who turns 26 next week, could be around the Flyers long after vets such as Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds have left the building.

It wouldn’t be thinking too far outside the box to believe Couturier could be the next captain – succeeding Giroux – someday.

Right now, it’s difficult to believe the Flyers can get back to serious contention in the immediate future.

They have the ongoing saga of a goaltending mess, the uncertainty of what the new general manager (to succeed Ron Hextall) will do to the roster and whether there’s enough young talent down on the Phantoms to create a job competition here with the NHL club.

That said, Couturier sounds like he has faith that there’s still enough time left in this season to get back into the playoff hunt, even if his team currently resides in last place in the Metro Division.

“Our job is to win and right now we’re not doing that,’’ he offered on Wednesday (the Flyers were off from practice on Thursday). “A (possible) trade or whatever is part of the business.

“We have to turn the switch on. We’re still pretty confident in this group. We have some talent, we have some skill. It’s about going out there and proving it.’’

There are so many bad numbers out there, it’s hard to list them all.

The Flyers are giving up more than 3.5 goals per game, which puts them 30th in the NHL.

They have a negative goal differential of minus-14, worst in the Metro Division and second-worst in the Eastern Conference.

Their special teams are a mess: The power play is 26th at 15.7 percent and their penalty kill is 30th at 70.7 percent.

And on and on and on.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who turned 30 on his last birthday, knows the firing of the GM, the assistant GM and an assistant coach could just be the beginning.

“If you don’t start winning games, more changes are going to come,’’ said Neuvirth, who has played in only game this season due to injury but could be back from a groin ailment in time for Saturday night’s game at Pittsburgh.

Neuvirth is in the final year of his contract and his job security would seem to be somewhat in doubt. He could be traded as a rental to a contender at the Feb. 25 deadline, especially if the Flyers don’t start to crawl back into contention.

“It’s a tough business,’’ he said. “I have to focus on myself. You never know what’s going to happen. As long as you are playing for the Flyers, you have to give your all.’’


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About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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