A look at Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier...
Back in June of 2011, the Flyers dealt their Team Captain Mike Richards (and Rob Bordson) to the Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds (plus a 2nd in 2012). While Simmonds is a valuable player in his own right and the type of player every successful team needs, Schenn was the real jewel in this blockbuster deal.
During his major junior career, Schenn scored 116 goals and 315 points in 224 games, which averages out to 115 points per 82 games. His play at two World Junior Hockey Championships was extraordinary. In his first Championship, he recorded eight points in six games as an 18-year-old. Where he really shone was at his next tourney. Schenn scored eight goals and 18 points in seven contests, leading the tournament in scoring by a wide margin. The next closest were a pair of Russians named Kuznetsov and Tarasenko with 11 points apiece and then Schenn's own teammate Ryan Ellis with 10 points. Schenn was named the tournament's Top Forward and Most Valuable Player.
Schenn played one NHL game in 2009-10 (zero points) and eight games in 2010-11, recording two assists with the Los Angeles Kings. After his trade to the Flyers, he spent 54 games with the big club, recording 12 goals and 18 points. He also spent a little time in the AHL, sniping six goals and 12 points in only seven games.
Last season, Schenn received the 11th most average ice time per game (14:07) for Flyers forwards, although only 1:41 of it was with the man advantage. Now with Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk out of the picture, it's easy to project some additional offensive opportunities for Schenn. Jagr averaged 3:15 per game on the power play, while JVR received 2:47 per contest.
The playoffs were where Schenn really shone last year, recording nine points in 11 post-season matches. Hopefully, this season he can find some of that elusive chemistry while building on the confidence he is surely gaining by leading the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms in scoring with 11 points in nine games. He currently sits tied for fifth in AHL scoring.
The versatile forward is a virtual lock in the Flyers top six and may be overlooked by less savvy poolies.
One point behind Schenn with 10 points in nine AHL games is Sean Couturier. Philly's top choice, eighth overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. By jumping straight to the NHL from junior hockey, Couturier showed last season that he could handle playing against men. This kid is a player and he "gets it", playing a very mature two-way game. How many teenagers right out of junior are able to gain the trust of their coach in defensive situations in the NHL? Exactly.
Over his final two junior seasons, Couturier recorded 77 goals and 192 points in 126 games (pro-rates to 125 points every 82 games), but maybe more impressively, he was a combined plus-117. He put the finishing touches on his junior career by winning the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Most Valuable Player.
In the same 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship where Schenn was so dominant, Couturier recorded a meager two goals and three points in seven games. Perhaps it's a bit unfair to compare the two at this tournament as Couturier is a year and a half younger than Schenn.
Last season, Couturier received the 10th most average ice time per game (14:08) on the Flyers, but only 0:26 power play ice time per game. Where he shone was in short-handed situations. He finished second only to Max Talbot for short-handed time on ice amongst forwards, averaging 2:41 per game.
Unfortunately, his defensive prowess works against him when talking about his fantasy value. Think Jordan Staal. This season, Couturier is resigned to third line duties behind Giroux and Briere/Schenn (one of these two will play the wing). Until Briere is out of the mix, Couturier's point contributions on this team will be muted, but never forget that he has the offensive pedigree to produce if given the opportunity.
Please be polite and give people a chance to guess before looking up and posting the answers. You know who you are!
Who leads all American-born NHL goaltenders in career wins? He played from 1981-2002 for five teams.