The Philadelphia Flyers‘ star forward Sean Couturier was injured and will be out for multiple weeks. The injury was sustained on Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins when he was driven hard into the boards.
Injury update: Forward Sean Couturier will be out a minimum of two weeks with a Costochondral separation.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 16, 2021
Sean Couturier Injured
Couturier has an irreplaceable role within the Flyers’ team. As the first-line center, he is a natural leader and commands that first line. In addition, he’s a key piece of the first power-play unit. Last season, he had four power-play goals and nine power-play assists. So far this season, he’s played two games and has one assist. Last season, over 69 games, he had 22 goals and 37 assists, combining for 59 points. In addition, he also had 30 minutes in penalties to go along with it. In the same 69 games, he had a Corsi rating of 56.5% and a relative Corsi of 7.5. His absurdly high Corsi numbers from last season show how much the Flyers depend on him for puck control and offensive production. In addition, Couturier took 910 faceoffs last season and won nearly 60% of them, good for the best percentage on his team. The Flyers are a noticeably better team with Couturier on the ice, and they will have to make do without him over these next few weeks.
So who will replace him? Luckily, the Flyers’ center depth is in the top half of the league. Kevin Hayes, Nolan Patrick, and Scott Laughton are the second, third, and fourth-line centers, respectively. Hayes is a more than capable center whose offensive talents rival Couturier. While his possession numbers are nowhere close to the first line center’s, he is capable of filling that role for a few weeks while Couturier recovers. In a highly competitive East Division, the Flyers will need to stay on track if they want any chance of finishing as the best team.