Over the past few years, there has been one Flyers’ player that has been pretty much untouchable. Sean Couturier, fresh off a Selke award, has been one of the team’s best players, and probably the best all-around skater. He looks to continue his success, and will be one the team’s leaders heading into the shortened season. However, can we expect him to live up to his Selke-caliber performance again?
Last season, Coots put together a 22g, 37 assist season. This was good enough to rank him second on the team in points, sitting only behind Travis Konecny’s 61 points. Coots was one of the more consistent performers as well, as he picked up nine points in his 15 playoff games played. This shouldn’t change heading into 2021. The 28-year-old is just hitting his prime, and will continue his two-way dominance.
Against the East Opponents
Last season, Coots was also one of the best Flyers against the teams put in the newly-aligned Eastern division. Thanks to some collaboration with our friends over at Pod Street Bullies, we see that he has also played some of his best hockey throughout his career against these divisional opponents.
The Boston Bruins are the most notable team to get shuffled into this division, as they are one of the league’s most consistent top dogs. Luckily though, heading into the round robin games last season, Coots averages nearly a point every-other-game, producing at a 12p in 26g clip for his career. Looking at the other top teams in the division, Coots’ success does not stop there.
Again, please note that these numbers are his prior to the round robin games. Against the Penguins, the Flyers’ 1C has 23 points in 37 games (pre-RR). Looking at Washington, he improves to 23p in 33g. As for the Isles, he has produced 28 points in 37 games. For a team that has consistently been a thorn in the Flyers’ side, these numbers are spectacular.
Looking at some of the weaker opponents in the division, Couturier takes advantage of his competition. In his career, he has 21p in 34g against the Rangers. This stretches to 14p in 35g against the Devils and then 15p in 23g against Buffalo. Consistency is key in his game, which makes him so elite in comparison.
Among some of the recent winners of the Selke trophy, there is some eerily similar patterns among those who win it multiple times. In recent years, recent winners have collected the award more than once are Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk.
Pavel Datsyuk won this award three years in a row, stretching from 2008 to 2010. In 2008, Datsyuk was 29 years old, turning 30. He finished his monopoly over the Selke award when he turned 31. As for Bergeron, he’s consistently been in the top-5 for voting for pretty much his entire career. However, he won his first award at 26, and his most recent at 31. Along with these two, many of those who have won the award have been amongst the top three or five in voting consistently.
Look, I am not drawing any comparisons between Coots and Datsyuk- that would be unfair. However, among the players who have won this award multiple times and/or sustain top voting status, one thing is true. They all get nominated as they enter their prime, and then slow down after their prime.
This may sound silly and obvious, but it’s important to note that Couturier is hitting his prime right now. He followed the trend of Datsyuk and Bergeron, winning it during his first or second prime year. Now, he looks to continue in their footsteps and take home the trophy again during his prime years.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre