4. LC Sean Couturier – Drummondville (QMJHL)
DOB: Dec. 07/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 191lbs
Midterm Rank: 2 | League Rank: 1st QMJHL | Country Rank: 2nd Canada
Sean Couturier has everything a team could ask for in a center. He’s 6’4″ 191 lbs. He has great hands and vision and plays a very solid two-way game. He’s also not afraid to use his size. In 2009-2010 he won the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the QMJHL’s leading scorer and in 2010-2011 he won the Michel Briere trophy as the league’s most-valuable player. It’s no surprise that Couturier was named MVP. He plays a ton of minutes for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He kills penalties,plays the power play and takes all of the important faceoffs. Some nights it seems like he plays over 40 minutes because he’s out there so much and when he’s out there he makes everyone notice.
Couturier has slid down most rankings after being at or near number 1 in the early rankings. It’s not because his play declined. He didn’t develop a bad attitude. He didn’t become injury prone. Quite frankly its because people expected a lot of him. At the age of 17 he lead the QMJHL in scoring. He’s a late 1992 birthday so he’s old than most other prospects. If he was born a few months earlier he would have been drafted early in last years draft. Scouts wanted Sean to dominate the QMJHL this season. He was coming off a very good season and they wanted to see some progress.
He got a little bit better in some aspects of the game, especially in the defensive zone but it’s nothing like the progression made by other prospects in the NHL like Jonathan Huberdeau and Zack Phillips. Couturier finished 9 points behind Huberdeau this season. However, it should be noted that he missed several games due to the World Junior tournament while Huberdeau played on a incredibly strong Saint John team.Sean was the only 2011 draft eligible prospect on Team Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship. He proved his versatility as he played checking line center and chipped in with 2 goals and an assist. He was also a +6 in only 7 games.
Couturier is the type of player that could make the jump to the NHL next season depending on which team drafts him. He doesn’t have much left to prove in the QMJHL. Getting NHL coaching would be good for his development even if his ice time is limited at the NHL level. What will most likely happen is that he will play between 7 and 9 NHL games and his team will re-evaluate the situation at that point.
Like most prospects, Sean will need to work on his speed to bring his game to the NHL but he should develop into a solid NHL center. He has the potential to be a number 1 center who can play a very solid two way game. The type of center you throw out against the opponents number one line but the same center you send on the ice when down by a goal late in the game. He should be a very good low risk pick. At worst you get a solid 3rd line center but a lot more will be expected from him as he will be drafted very high.
Pros: Size and hands
Skill-set Comparison: Jordan Staal