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Sean Couturier Named Flyers’ Nominee for Masterton Award

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Philadelphia Flyers captain Sean Couturier has been nominated as the team’s representative for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is handed out to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities and perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”

Each team’s Professional Hockey Writers’ Association chapter nominates one candidate and then the finalists and winner are selected by the PWHA.

Couturier has been going through a never-ending roller coaster ride since 2021-22. He was forced out of the lineup in December of 2021 and ended up missing the entire season due to a back injury – something the Flyers failed to mention for quite some time.

After undergoing successful surgery, he was ramping up for a return in 2022-23 but aggravated the same injury just before training camp and he ended up missing the entire season once again. Couturier was potentially gearing up for a return at the end of the 2023 campaign but the Flyers opted to err on the side of caution.

Itching to get back into the lineup, Couturier was set to return in 2023-24 and it didn’t look like he missed a beat. The veteran scored 10 goals and 30 points in his first 41 games while averaging 20 minutes a night and holding a plus-12 rating. He was back on the top power play unit, playing his usual penalty killing role, and was of course featured in overtime and the shootouts. His faceoff marksmanship took a little while to come back but he was in mid season form when the Flyers needed it most.

Unfortunately, his last 29 games have been severely unkind to the veteran as he has just 1 goal and 5 points, holds a minus-22 rating, and has seen his ice-time slashed to 14:54 minutes per  game. He’s been demoted to the fourth line and has been made a healthy scratch a few times, which is all the more shocking considering he was named captain in February.

Things haven’t been any easier since the lofty appointment either as he has just 3 assists to his name in 20 games with a minus-17 rating and skating less than 14 minutes a night. The veteran has persevered through a lot but as fate would have it, he sustained a shoulder injury in-game on Monday, forcing him out of the upcoming back-to-back set that could seal the fate of their season.

Usually, the three finalists would be named at the end of the season and the ultimate winner of the award would be revealed at the NHL Awards show, but this year that still remains in the air as the league is undecided on how they will go about the award ceremony.

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