It has been a tough season for Flyers center Sean Couturier. After it looked like he’d be able to return earlier than expected from a back injury, he suffered a setback in October and eventually required surgery. However, it appears he’ll have a chance of getting back late in the season as GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed to Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now that they haven’t ruled out the veteran returning to the lineup:
He’s been progressing well. I know the surgeon is happy with the progress he’s made. As you ramp up the intensity of the on- and off-ice workouts, hopefully things continue to go as expected, and in that case, it would be great for him to come back this year and get some games.”
We’ll just have to see if there are things that slow down the recovery or not. That’s hard to predict, but right now he’s doing well. We’re certainly not on a fast-track with him. We do things very methodically. At the end of the day, it’s about the long-term and not this year.
When the 30-year-old underwent surgery in late October, the anticipated recovery timeline was three-to-four months so Couturier appears to be on track. But with Philadelphia struggling for most of the year (they currently sit seventh in the Metropolitan Division), it was also a strong possibility that they just held him out for the season to err on the side of caution to avoid any concern about him sustaining another injury.
When healthy, Couturier has been one of the stronger two-way centers in the league and was rewarded for his efforts in 2021 with an eight-year, $62MM contract with 2022-23 being the first year of that deal. Getting him back to top form would go a long way toward boosting Philadelphia’s lineup although that type of performance isn’t likely to come this season after being off for so long. Even so, just getting him back and Couturier showing that he’s healthy would certainly be a welcome sign heading into the offseason.
Hopeful news for Coots. I was really hoping he’d get a chance to give PB37 a run for the Selke.
Since these comments come from the same person who said Ellis would be back and Atkinson would be back, I would treat this as more a bad GM saying something he knows is not true.
I wish Fletcher would leave after this season