Winnipeg will make the 7th selection in this week’s NHL Draft, so all this week I will be profiling some players who could be selected with said pick. Today’s player is Drummondville (QMJHL) centre Sean Couturier.
Although he is currently Winnipeg’s selection in My NHL Draft’s latest mock I would be pleasantly surprised if Couturier lasts until Winnipeg’s selection. Although he struggled at the 2011 World Juniors, Couturier still lit up the QMJHL again for 96 points in 58 games. He finished 5th in the scoring race, 18 points behind the leader, but that was due to missing games for the WJC and to mono. Couturierhad 1.65 points per game, and the leader had 1.67, so Couturier was right there in terms of production.
Though he has been very good statistically, he probably doesn’t have superstar potential offensively. The big question with Couturier is his skating. Once he gets going he is a good skater, but his burst isn’t up to par with some of the other high picks. Still, his skating has already improved from the beginning of the season until now, so my bet is with some NHL coaching it will improve even more.
Couturier’s biggest plus is his smarts. Scouts rave about his ability to get both the puck and himself where they need to be, and that will help both his offense and his defense. Defensively, Couturier should be able to take advantage of his big frame (6’4″, 195 lbs) and be a very good two way centre who can play both against top offensive lines or top defensive lines, as well as be out there to take important faceoffs.
While I think NHL teams will eventually come to their senses and notice that they can take a guy who might not have the highest ceiling but will be a solid NHL player, there is still a slight chance Couturier drops to that 7 spot and, barring other surprises, if that happens Winnipeg should jump on him.