Sean Couturier made his NHL debut with the Flyers at 18 years old.
If he stays in Philadelphia for the entirety of his new eight-year contract extension, he'll wear a Flyers jersey at 37 years old.
The magnitude of that possible feat was not lost on him Friday.
"I think it would be 18 or 19 years if I play this out all the way until the end; you don't really see that much anymore," Couturier said. "It would obviously be an honor. I've always loved Philly, through the ups and downs. To be here for the next nine years is going to be fun and exciting for me and my family. Hopefully we can get a championship in the next couple of years here."
Couturier is entering his 11th season with the Flyers and the final year of a six-year, $26 million deal. In 2022-23, his new eight-year, $62 million contract will begin, a commitment the Flyers put a bow on this week ahead of September training camp.
See ya, contract year.
Couturier didn't seem too interested in testing next summer's free-agent market. He "would have done extremely well," as Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher admitted Thursday. Couturier is a put-everything-on-my-plate center in the prime of his career and with a Selke Trophy on his résumé. Teams love those players and those players get rewarded.
"Would have had his choice of landing spots," Fletcher said, "and he chose to stay in Philadelphia. We're very, very excited about that.
"Sean would have been very richly, richly rewarded had he become a UFA next summer."
Not the ostentatious type, Couturier was pleased with the long-term security and happy to negotiate a respectable but reasonable average annual value on the deal ($7.75 million).
"You want to get paid, you want to earn what you're worth, but at the same time, I want to win a Stanley Cup, a championship," Couturier said. "I didn't want to break the bank or get all the money; I just wanted to secure myself for the next nine years and just wanted to make it a fair deal for both of us.
"For me, just happy to be in Philly. I started my career there, grew up, came in as a teenager pretty much and now I have a daughter that was born there. For me and my family, to be able to call the next nine years in Philadelphia home, it's nice and an honor to be a part of. I'm just excited about the team that we have right now and in the future."
Couturier's extension served as a punctuation mark on Fletcher's busy offseason of revamping the club's roster. The GM acquired Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle, Martin Jones, Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson in a span of 40 days. Five of those players were alternate captains last season on their respective former teams.
"All the moves that Chuck made, we have a good mix of young and older guys," Couturier said. "I think we're a team at maturity right now that is ready to win and also for a couple of years."
Couturier has many more years in orange and black. He's currently 12th on the franchise's all-time games played list with 692. If he plays 62 or more games this season, he'll climb into the franchise's top five. The following season, his eight-year contract will just be kicking in. Bob Clarke holds the Flyers' record for games played at 1,144, with Claude Giroux in second place at 943 and counting.
Fans are watching two great Flyers in the process of making franchise history.
"I came to Philly at 18 years old, now I'm 28," Couturier said. "Fans always treated me really well and let me grow into the player and person I am. I have a lot of respect for them and it seems to be the same for them to me."
Will Couturier celebrate the new deal?
"Going to enjoy it this weekend, have some family and friends over and enjoy it," he said. "At the end of the day, it's part of the business, I'm here to play hockey, I want to play for a couple more years. Going to celebrate and enjoy it, but going to get back to work next week, for sure."
Seems fitting. He's a Flyer, for sure.
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