(photo: NHL.com)

The Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to a contract with center Sean Couturier. The deal is reportedly for six years, with a cap hit of $4.33 million per season.

The 22-year-old was set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2015-16 season. He is currently in the final year of a two-year, $3.5 million bridge deal that was signed in 2013. The salary cap hit for this season will be $1.75 million. The new contract doesn’t start until the 2016-17 season. Couturier is set to be in Philadelphia to the end of the 2021-22 season barring a trade.

Couturier is best known for his play in the defensive zone. The center usually plays against the opposing team’s best players in a shutdown role. His two previous coaches (Peter Laviolette and Craig Berube) weren’t afraid to use him in any situation during the course of a game. He would be found on the ice for his even strength shifts, during the penalty kill, on the power play, during the last minute of play when the team had a one goal lead, and if the team needed a center to take a face off in the defensive zone. He logged a bulk of his special teams play on the penalty kill. Couturier is usually in good position in the defensive zone, which leads to takeaways and clearing the puck out of his own zone. The center has shown some offensive upside too.

The 15 goals that he scored last season were a career high. He also added 22 assists for a total of 37 points in 82 games played. Couturier has shown glimpses of his offensive zone ability over the past four seasons. He had two separate six game point streaks last season, where he had seven points. In the IIHF World Championships, he had three goals, four assists and seven points in 10 games played for Canada, who won the gold medal.

In his four seasons, Couturier has played in 287 out of a possible 294 games. The 287 games played are the most among all player in his 2011 draft class. He has also played in 198 consecutive games, which is the third most among active Flyers behind Jake Voracek (226) and Brayden Schenn (208).

After signing Couturier to a contract, the Flyers now have approximately $53 million invested in 14 players for the 2016-17 season, and not one of them is named Jake Voracek.

 

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