Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, who missed the last 1 1/2 seasons because of back problems, has had a solid training camp but believes he can reach “another level.”
His coach, John Tortorella, agrees.
“Quite honestly, I think he needs to be selfish about himself in getting his game together,” Tortorella said after the Flyers ended their preseason schedule Thursday with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders’ “B” team. Spending two years away from the game, he needs to focus on himself.”
In four preseason games, Couturier finished with two points (two assists) and a minus-2 rating
“His camp has gone well. Ups and downs, which is expected,” Tortorella said. “I think it’s going to take a little time for him to totally feel comfortable.”
No one expects Couturier, who is coming off two back surgeries, to jump right back and be a point-a-game player. It will take a few months for him to get his timing back.
Still, there have been encouraging signs.
“Physically, I feel really good,” the 30-year-old center said. “I was surprised with all the skating and how hard this camp is. I don’t really have any soreness or any tightness, so that’s good. Obviously my game still has some work to be done, but I think it’s going in the right direction. It got better and better every game, so I’ve got to just keep building on it.”
Couturier had 76 points (33 goals, 43 assists) in his last full season, back in 2018-19. Over the last three seasons, he has played 69, 45 and 29 games, respectively.
“I’ve got to keep working and try to get back to where I was,” he said. “I still think I have another level (to reach), more with the execution and stuff. I’m starting to get a good feel for the game … I think defensively, I’m pretty sharp and in good position most of the time. It’s more offensively. I’ve got to find those soft areas and create a little more offense.
Besides playing in all situations, Couturier will help the Philadelphia Flyers younger centers —Morgan Frost, Noah Cates and Ryan Poehling –– with his mentorship and his hockey smarts, including the way he thrives in the faceoff circle.
After Friday’s practice, the Flyers surprisingly placed Wade Allison on waivers. It wouldn’t be surprising if another team claimed the right winger. … The Flyers will practice in Voorhees on Saturday at 11 a.m. They are off on Sunday and Monday, and then back on the ice Tuesday and Wednesday. They open the season Thursday in Columbus against Ivan Provorov and Co. … Frost had two assists in each of his last two preseason games. He had a team-high four points in the preseason. … Over the last five preseason games following 6-0 loss in New Jersey, the Flyers outshot their opponents, 152-98. … Carter Hart was 1-0-1 with a 2.46 GAA and .868 save percentage in the preseason.