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Flyers' top pick Couturier signs three-year contract

NHL.com @NHL
The Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday announced the signing of 2011 first-round draft pick Sean Couturier to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The deal comes less than 24 hours after the 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward notched a goal and an assist in 17:06 of ice time in his preseason debut -- a 4-0 preseason victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

The Flyers were able to select Couturier with the eighth pick last June after acquiring it from the Columbus Blue Jackets, along with forward Jake Voracek, in exchange for forward Jeff Carter.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has liked what he's seen in Couturier during training camp.

"I think he's a really smart player, he protects the puck well," Laviolette said. "Watching him kill penalties, he had a real good grasp of what he was trying to accomplish out there. He's looked good during training camp."

It's very likely Couturier will earn a spot on the Canadian National Junior team that will compete in the World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary come December unless he makes the Flyers out of training camp in October.

Couturier was not only voted Best Professional Prospect, but was also named Most Valuable Player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He collected his second straight 96-point campaign, including 36 goals and 60 assists, despite playing 10 fewer games due to his participation in the World Junior Championship for Team Canada in Buffalo, N.Y., in January.

"The WJC was a great experience overall," Couturier said. "It was a sad ending … a bad ending (losing to Russia in the gold medal game). But I try and take the positives out of it. It's fast hockey, it's the best in the world and just playing against the best, you get better."

In Drummondville's four-game sweep over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the opening round of the QMJHL playoffs, Couturier had 3 goals and 8 points. Couturier also won 54 percent of his faceoffs during the regular season on 1,430 opportunities.
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