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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Sean Couturier

Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 11:00 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Draft Profile: Sean Couturier
On each weekday between now and the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on June 24, we'll be profiling one of 11 players who could be chosen with the 12th overall pick by Carolina. Today's subject is Quebec Major Junior Hockey League center Sean Couturier. Previously: Sven Bartschi | Nathan Beaulieu | Jonas Brodin Also see: Hurricanes Draft History.

A year ago, many would have thought the team picking 12th overall would have no chance of nabbing Sean Couturier. Today, it at least seems possible.

Paul Branecky
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If there was one player that appeared on the radar years ago as the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, it was Couturier. He certainly turned heads in 2009-10 by becoming the first rookie to lead the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in scoring since Sidney Crosby five years earlier.

However, through no real fault of his own, it could be that others have caught up to him.

“He’s been on the horizon for quite a few years, and usually what happens with those players is that they get somewhat overanalyzed,” said Jason Karmanos, vice president and assistant general manager of the Hurricanes. “It’s not necessarily because he’s done anything wrong, but I think there’s the possibility that he goes later than expected based on the strength of the top 15.”

"He’s still a very good hockey player, but we probably didn’t see the best of him this year," said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes' director of amateur scouting. "It’s fair to say that he’s a guy that didn’t quite live up to expectations, but there are reasons for that. Not excuses, reasons."

Among those are the emergence of Quebec-league colleague Jonathan Huberdeau, who has likely surpassed Couturier in the eyes of most scouts. There's also an early-season bout with mononucleosis and a performance at the World Junior tournament that has been described as "average," although he was the only draft-eligible player among a group of mostly 19-year-olds on Team Canada.

If those things cause Couturier, a back-to-back 96-point scorer with Drummondville, to fall in the rankings, he could end up being the steal of the draft. He has all the qualities the Hurricanes covet in their centers, including the ability to score points as well as prevent them.

“He’s an extremely smart player, which is his best attribute,” said Karmanos. “Among the forwards in the top 15, he’s probably the best defensive player.”

"He’s the prototypical two-way center," said MacDonald. "He has size, skill and plays very well without the puck."

Those qualities would seem to make him a top-10 pick, but his shortcomings this past season - real or perceived - have caused him to be mentioned in the same breath as Cam Fowler, a player that surprisingly fell to No. 12 last year but shouldn't have based on his rookie season with the Anaheim Ducks.

"I think that’s sitting in everyone’s minds," said MacDonald.

Like fellow draft hopeful Nathan Beaulieu – one of the players that overtook him in NHL Central Scouting rankings since the midterm – Couturier comes from a hockey family. His father Sylvain played 33 NHL games with Los Angeles before moving on to a front-office career that has currently has him serving as general manager of the Quebec league’s Acadie-Bathurst Titans.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60