Couturier named 20th captain in Flyers history

Sean Couturier

Since he arrived in Philadelphia in the summer of 2022, Flyers head coach John Tortorella made it clear he wasn’t interested in naming a traditional captain for his team.

All that changed on Wednesday night when it was announced veteran center Sean Couturier had been selected as the 20th captain in team history.

Scott Laughton, who served as the only player wearing a letter – an “A” for alternate captain – the past two seasons, will retain that rank of team leadership along with another new alternate, Travis Konecny.

With the Flyers making a serious challenge for a playoff spot after three seasons away from the postseason, it seemed like the right time to name an official captain. Only four or five other NHL teams do not have a player wearing a “C” on their uniform.

Plus, the Flyers have had some of their greatest success when they have an official captain at the helm, including Bob Clarke (two Stanley Cup championships), Dave Poulin (two Stanley Cup Finals in the 1980s) and Eric Lindros (two long playoff runs in 1997 and 2000).

Couturier, 31, was a first-round draft pick (eighth overall) of the Flyers in 2011. His draft spot was obtained in the 2011 trade which sent Jeff Carter to Columbus in exchange for Jake Voracek.

Over the years, Couturier has developed into one of the game’s best two-way players. In 2020, he was named recipient of the Frank J. Selke  Trophy for the NHL’s best two-way player.

This move might have been made sooner but Couturier had to undergo a pair of back surgeries which kept him inactive for more than a season and a half. He returned this year and has shown no ill effects from the pair of operations.

“Sean Couturier is an ideal choice to be the next leader of the Philadelphia Flyers,” said Briere in a press release issued by the Flyers. “Sean was drafted here and has made Philadelphia his home. I have personally seen his development from a responsible forward to one of the best two-way centerman in the game and a playoff performer.

“The adversity he has had to overcome has only strengthened his proven leadership. In this New Era of Orange with (CEO) Dan Hilferty, (president of hockey operations) Keith Jones and John Tortorella at the helm, we couldn’t be more proud to call him captain.”

Couturier’s appointment made the most sense. He’s the longest-tenured Flyer and is respected in the Flyers’ locker room and around the league.

“It’s such a great honor,” Couturier said. “It’s a really prestigious organization so this makes it even more special. This city is my home and I love it here. It’s going to be business as usual for me. Nothing is really going to change from me or my game and how I approach things. I love my teammates, how we have grown as a group and I want to make sure we keep going on the right path here.”

Couturier, 31, becomes the 19th Flyer, 20th occurrence, in franchise history to wear the “C” – the first since Claude Giroux (2012-22).

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Phoenix has registered 191 goals/493 points in 771 career games in 12 NHL seasons with Philadelphia (2011-24).

He ranks fifth in team history in games played and is the fifth player in Flyers history to skate in 12-or-more seasons with the club: Claude Giroux (15), Bobby Clarke (15), Rick MacLeish (12) and Bill Barber (12).

Couturier ranks 10th in franchise history in even-strength points (391), 11th in shots on goal (1,725), 15th in assists and game-winning goals (13) and 16th in scoring.

The left-shot forward collected 22 goals/59 points in 69 games in his Selke Trophy season.

Konecny, 26, will don the “A” for the first time in his career. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound native of London, Ontario, was selected by the Flyers in the first round (24th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. He has 166 goals/381 points in 542 career games in eight NHL seasons with Philadelphia (2016-24). The right-shot winger has represented the Flyers at the NHL All-Star Weekend twice (2020 and 2024).

Laughton, 29, is a native of Oakville, Ontario. He was selected by the Flyers in the first round (20th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. He owns 89 goals/222 points in 573 career games in 11 NHL seasons with Philadelphia (2012-24). The left-shot forward was named the 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award and the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy.

 

Avatar photo
About Wayne Fish 2426 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.