PHILADELPHIA -- No one told Sean Couturier
not to come to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night, so the rookie forward did the same thing he's done for the first nine games of his initial NHL season -- show up for work.
"I sort of figured it out," he said prior to Philadelphia Flyers
' game against Winnipeg. "I haven't talked to anyone. I'm doing what I have to do."
What he's done so far has been pretty impressive. The 18-year-old center has 2 goals and 2 assists in nine games; he also leads the team with a plus-4 rating, and his average of 4:06 per game in shorthanded ice time is third among all NHL forwards.
2012 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
Pittsburgh to host 2012 NHL Draft
Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer
The NHL announced Thursday that Pittsburgh will host the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the first in the Steel City since 1997. READ MORE ›
"He's been really good," coach Peter Laviolette
said. "He's been solid. Defensively he's been responsible; offensively he's given us what we've asked for. I think we put him in a lot of situations where he's handled it and done a good job."
Couturier was unsure of what to expect when he arrived for training camp, but figured if he worked hard, he'd be able to find a spot.
"I've always taken price in taking care of little details," he said. "The coach has confidence in me and it's fun to see. I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team. … I've just been doing my little thing and trying to work hard and get better every day and do what I can to stay here."
Couturier said while he knew Thursday night was his 10th game, it's not something he spent time worrying about.
"I knew there was a 10-game rule," he said. "I never really thought too much about it. I tried to take it one game at a time, one day at a time and see where it brings me."
Where it's brought him is to the NHL on a full-time basis, and as a key contributor on a team with Stanley Cup hopes.
, who has invited Couturier to live with him and his three sons this season, said there's no chance he could have played in the NHL as an 18-year-old coming out of junior hockey.
"You don't see guys with his maturity at such an early age usually," Briere told NHL.com. "His defensive game, his positioning -- he's always in a good position, and it's impressive. When you're a coach, there's no worries to send him on the ice. You're safe when he's on the ice. He's definitely ahead of the curve in that department."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK