Sean Couturier has signed a six-year, $26 million extension with the Philadelphia Flyers that runs through to the 2021-22 season.
Couturier, 22, was a first-round pick of the Flyers in 2011, eighth overall, and made the jump to the NHL immediately following his draft year. In 2011-12, Couturier had a stellar rookie season, scoring 13 goals and 27 points in 77 games with Philadelphia. But more than just his offense, it was his two-way play that brought hope to the Flyers faithful.
Over the past three seasons, Couturier has racked up 32 goals and 91 points in 210 games, with his career best point total coming in 2013-14 when he notched 13 goals and 39 points. He set his career mark for goals in a season with a 15-tally campaign in 2014-15.
Though he’s failed to eclipse the 40-point mark to this point, he’s a 22-year-old who has room to grow and will play into the prime of his career at a $4.33 million cap hit. That’s not a bad deal for either side, especially with a salary cap that is likely to rise over the next six seasons.
By signing the young, two-way pivot to a long-term deal, the Flyers lock up a solid one-two punch down the middle for years to come. On the top line, Philadelphia can trot out captain Claude Giroux, while Couturier plays the supplementary role on the second unit. For a Philadelphia team that is looking for a core to build around, locking up Giroux, Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and the yet-to-be-extended Jakub Voracek gives the club some structure. It allows GM Ron Hextall to bring in complimentary pieces instead of searching for a place to start.
Nashville’s recent signings of young core players Colin Wilson and Craig Smith to contracts around the $4-4.5 million mark set the price for team’s looking to lock up their younger talent, and Courturier’s salary falls somewhere in the middle. Close comparables to his play at 5-on-5 over the past three seasons includes the Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal, Islanders’ Frans Nielsen, Wild’s Charlie Coyle and Canucks’ Jannik Hansen, all of whom earn between $2.5 million and $3.2 million.
Courturier was set to enter the final year of two-year, $3.5 million deal he had signed in July 2013, which meant he would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2015-16 season. The only downside to the deal for the Flyers is the six-year contact means he’ll be signed through to unrestricted free agency, when Philadelphia will no longer control his rights. If Couturier improves steadily, he could become a big ticket free agent by the end of his six-year deal.