Sean Couturier said that early in his career he considered Patrice Bergeron a role model and now the Flyer center gets a chance to move into his hero’s esteemed class.
On Monday, both Couturier and Bergeron were named finalists for the 2019-20 Frank J. Selke Trophy for the NHL’s best defensive forward.
Last year’s winner, St. Louis forward Ryan O’Reilly, was named the third finalist.
This is a record ninth time Bergeron, a star for the Boston Bruins, has been named a finalist for the award. He’s won it a record-tying four times.
Couturier was previously nominated for the honor in 2017-18, finishing second to Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.
Only two Flyers have ever won the Selke: Bobby Clarke in 1982-83 and Dave Poulin in 1986-87. The Selke Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Couturier won the Bobby Clarke Trophy (Flyers’ MVP) for a second straight season, in which he led the team in plus-minus ratings with a plus-21.
He centers the team’s top line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, a unit which is matched up against the NHL’s best players, including Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid.
“It’s nice to be honored and recognized by the media,” said Couturier. “It reflects on the year that the team had as well. I try to pay attention to details and do the right things all the time, be on the right side of the puck and reliable in all aspects of the game. I try to take pride in that.”
Couturier appeared in all 69 games for the Flyers this season, recording 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points. His plus-minus rating of plus-21 led the Flyers and tied him for 10th among all NHL forwards.
The 27-year-old Couturier also had a faceoff win percentage of 59.6, which led the NHL among the 256 players who took at least 50 faceoffs this season.
Couturier was selected by the Flyers in the first round (7th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft out of Drummondville of the QMJHL and jumped directly to the NHL, appearing in 77 games as a rookie. He has appeared in 647 of a possible 691 games over nine NHL seasons, which is the most of anyone in the 2011 draft class.
His career plus-minus of plus-92 ranks best among that draft class, 14th in the NHL in that nine-year timeframe, and is plus-67 better than any other Flyer in that span.
Couturier is the third member of the organization to be named a finalist for a major NHL award this season, joining Alain Vigneault (Jack Adams Award) and Oskar Lindblom (Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy).