Couturier likely locks spot in Flyers' loss


NEWARK, N.J. - Sean Couturier isnt sure theres anything more he could have shown the Flyers to make this roster as an 18-year-old out of juniors.

Since Day One, Ive gotten better and better and gave a good impression, Couturier said. I dont know what theyre going to do with me.

According to one club source, Courturier did nothing to play himself off the roster.

Which means Couturier makes it.

Couturier played 19:24 in Saturdays pre-season finale for the Flyers, a 2-1 loss to the Devils at Prudential Center.

Seven minutes of that was special teams. Everything points to him pushing Andreas Nodl off the team,

I just needed to play my game, be strong on pucks and play good, solid hockey, Couturier said. I think Ive done good. Well see. This is a great team with a lot of depthIm glad to have had my first training camp.

I tried to stay within myself and play my game and show that Im mature enough to stick around.

With the players being off on Monday, thats a possible day for an early roster decision to come down either through a waiver of a player or even a trade.

The Flyers need to lose salary cap dollars to keep both Brayden Schenn and Couturier.

Yet with Schenn having a suspected shoulder injury, perhaps he starts the season with the Phantoms. Matt Read, sources said last week, is on the roster.

Schenns cap hit is 3.11 million. He was the centerpiece of the Mike Richards trade, although Wayne Simmonds, also acquired in that deal, has been more impressive.

Moving Schenn to the Phantoms now would allow keeping Couturier, Read, Zac Rinaldo and even Matt Walker with 210,000 to spare.

Well talk about him at length, hes played good, general manager Paul Holmgren said of Couturier. At the end of the day, well do what is right for the organization and for Sean.

Holmgren said Couturier needs to play quality minutes if he stays here.

Hes a very well-rounded guy, he might be one of our smarter defensive players, Holmgren said. The coach Peter Laviolette has no qualms putting him out to kill penalties, even 5-on-3.

He knows his way around the defensive zone. Hes going to lack a little bit of strength because hes an 18-year-old kid. So when he gets into situations against older guys, he might not come out on the winning end right now.

Laviolette said Couturier had a good training camp.

Hes played extremely well the whole camp, both ends of the ice, he said, adding he had no qualms about carrying a teenager on his roster.

The other critical decision is who gets the 7th defensive spotWalker or Oskars Bartulis.

Theyre hard decisions but well get together over the next couple days to come back with what we think is the best team, Holmgren said, praising Walker, who he said had a tremendouscamp.

Walker appeared to beat out Bartulis, but his cap hit, 1.7 million, is a liabilitysomething Holmgren didnt deny when compared to Bartulis' 600,000 hit.

The Flyers finished exhibition play, 4-2-1.

So what did we learn in this last game?

Well, that goalie Ilya Bryzgalov continues to look better, for the second game in the a row. He had two very good stops in the opening period and was again sharp throughout the game with 18 saves.

Scott Hartnell had a power play goal off his skate and the difference maker in this game was a Devils power play rebound from David Clarkson in the second period that broke a 1-1 tie.

Overall, the Flyers looks pretty solid going into the season even if the roster is still up in the air.

I was really happy with the competitiveness and spirit of the group, Holmgren said. Tonight we had a whole lotta kids in the lineup and the Devils had a good team dressed. I was really proud of how they played.

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