Matt Read, Sean Couturier.
If you see anything bad in these two guys, please tell me, because I definitely don’t, and neither do the loyal fans of Philadelphia.
In the month of September when all the young guns have dreams of making the NHL roster and work their ass off every practice, two players in particular really stood out. Matt Read, the 25-year-old undrafted rookie, just dominated in Development Camp and Rookie Camp. He, of course, made the roster, and all us Flyers fans are glad he did.
Read has played 16 of 19 Flyers’ games, and already has 8 goals and 5 assists. He’s 6th in points tallied for the Flyers and has a plus/minus of 6. Pretty nice stats for a rookie, eh? It doesn’t stop there though.
He had two goals in today’s game vs Winnipeg which made it a competition again. He’s also come up big when needed with a couple of game winners, one of which came with just 18.6 seconds left vs. Phoenix this past Thursday. During that game, Jaromir Jagr, who has been spectacular injured his groin in the early going. Who was the one to step up and fill in that RW spot playing with G and Harts? You guessed it. Matt Read. He has looked great so far, and he doesn’t look like he’s going to stop playing the way he has been anytime soon. With today’s goals, he’s excelled to 1st in goals among all NHL rookies, ahead of #1 draft pick Nugent-Hopkins. It’s also a plus to see him out in key situations. Shows how much trust Laviolette has in him.
Now onto Sean Couturier. Many wonder how he dropped down to 8th pick in the draft, myself included. The 6’3″, 197lb Canadian center from Drummondville (QMJHL) has great hands and vision and plays a very solid two-way game. At the age of 17 he lead the QMJHL and the next year was named MVP. How he dropped to the 8th pick, I don’t know, but I’m glad he was.
With Powe and Richards going this offseason, there was a pretty big hole left in the Flyers penalty killing unit, and boy, did Couturier ever fill that gap. With the Flyers taking a massive 94 penalties, the penalty kill had to be sharp, and it has been so far. Couturier and Talbot have killed loads of penalties, and Sean even has a goal while doing so.
He leads all rookies in plus/minus with a +9, as well as shorthanded ice time. Laviolette also has the same amount of confidence he does in Read as he does in Couturier, putting him out in crucial moments of the game. That’s what makes his plus 9 even more impressive. In just 19 games, he is already closing in on the team records for all of Philadelphia’s 18 year-old players. 5 goals, 3 assists, and a great penalty-killer. Awesome two-way player.
Knowing he has these kids locked up through 2014 must make it easier for Paul Holmgren to sleep at night. They’re hard-working, solid, two-way players, and both have a chance in winning the Calder Trophy. Having these types of players makes the Flyers’ future look great, and both of them are a key factor in the team’s success this year.
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