Flyers

Flyers

The Flyers have at least one major contract extension out of the way.

Sean Couturier, who was set to become a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, agreed to a multi-year deal with the Flyers on Tuesday.

Sources have told CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio it's a six-year, $25.98 million deal with an average annual value of $4.33 million.

"It's a great organization, they believe in me," Couturier said in a conference call Tuesday. "I'm really happy to be there for the next six years. I love the organization, the city. I think the future is bright in Philly. Hopefully we can do some good things during those six years."

Couturier is entering the final season of his bridge deal that carries a $1.75 million cap hit. He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Flyers on July 20, 2013.

The 22-year-old appeared in all 82 games for the Flyers last season, recording a career-high 15 goals to go with 22 assists. He also helped Team Canada earn a gold medal at the 2015 World Championships, where he registered three goals and four assists in 10 contests.

"It's a nice boost of confidence," Couturier said. "I'm really looking forward to come in camp and try to take another step forward. I'm not going to change as a player, as a person. I'm going to be the same type of player, just definitely try to produce a little bit more offensively."

Earlier this summer, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall hinted he believes Couturier will take the next step in his development under new head coach Dave Hakstol. It remains to be seen if Hakstol will use the young forward in a more expanded offensive role, possibly as a second-line pivot.

 

Hakstol will be Couturier's third head coach at the NHL level. He was used as a defensive specialist under Peter Laviolette and Craig Berube, taking a disproportionately high number of defensive zone faceoffs while also being tasked with shutting down the opposition's best players.

As for the new head coach, Couturier said he met with Hakstol once this summer.

"It looks like a great guy, well prepared," Couturier said. "[He] has a vision, knows what he wants, what he demands from his players. The way the game should be played, the way he sees our team. I think we can do a lot of good stuff with Dave Hakstol and hopefully we can prove that this year."

The Flyers selected Couturier with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft. The selection was acquired, along with Jakub Voracek and a third-round choice (Nick Cousins), as part of the Jeff Carter trade to Columbus in the summer of 2011.

Couturier signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Flyers on Sept. 21, 2011, and immediately earned an NHL job with the club out of training camp.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder has carved out a nice niche as a defensive-minded center in his four seasons with the Flyers, though the team is hoping he begins to soon provide the same type of offense he did at the junior level with Drummondville.

Since entering the NHL, Couturier has played in 287 of a possible 295 games and has currently appeared in 198 consecutive contests, the third-longest active streak on the team behind Voracek (226) and Brayden Schenn (208).

In all, Couturier has collected 45 goals and 73 assists as a Flyer and has added three goals and an assist in 18 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I've been playing 18 minutes a game the last two years," Couturier said. "Whatever they want me to do, I'll do my best at the role they give me, and what they want and what they expect from me. Whatever I can do to help the team win." 

With Couturier locked up, Hextall's next move likely will be attempting to sign Voracek long-term. Voracek's camp and the Flyers have already begun discussions on a new deal, and Hextall recently said he'd like to have something in place by the end of training camp in early October.

Voracek, who broke out for for 22 goals and 59 assists in 82 games last season and was awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team's most valuable player, will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015-16 season if the two sides fail to reach terms on an extension.

Schenn (restricted) and Michael Raffl (unrestricted) are also entering the final year of their contracts.