TORONTO CANADA - JANUARY 19: Sean Couturier #7 of Team Cherry fires a backhand shot on Liam Liston #33 of Team Orr in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Prospects game on January 19 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2011 Entry Draft. Today, a blue chip center that could be out of the Stars reach at 14, but if the team trades up there may be a chance...
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)
Born: February 5, 1992
Weight: 195 pounds
NHL Central Scouting: 6th among North American skaters
International Scouting Services: 4th
The Hockey News: 4th
Why the Stars would take him:
One of two dramatic events would have to take place for the Stars to get a chance at Couturier and that would be that he somehow falls from what most believe will be a top five draft position all the way down to the Stars lap at 14 (highly unlikely) or that the Stars trade up to a top five spot (not as unlikely but still quite a long shot) with the intent of taking the talented center. One of the biggest holes the Stars need to take car of prospects wise is getting a center who can not only put up points - which he did this past year in the QMJHL with 36 goals and 96 points en route to a league MVP title - but can also handle himself and be responsible in the defensive end. He's a big, strong kid already that will only become more imposing as he fills out his frame and has displayed tremendous, almost veteran-like on-ice instincts already coupled with a very strong work ethic. He was considered his team's top faceoff guy and played in all key situations the team faced.
Why they would pass:
If the Stars do trade up chances are it's to get Couturier, but in the event he's not on the Stars radar it could be due to two factors that have hounded Sean this past season. He's not the strongest skater in all reality and can be beaten to a puck if it comes down to a one on on race. His agility isn't exactly a strong point either which isn't surprising for a man his size. He also has been criticized for lacking a certain edge to his game at times and needs to work on winning individual battles for loose pucks out in the open and in the corners. Both of these aspects of his game can easily be worked on however.
Scouting report and video after the jump...
What they're saying:
"Sean has excellent puckhandling and playmaking ability; he sees the ice and reads the play very well . . . He's extremely smart and gets himself into good scoring position. He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively."
--NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards
"You don't take the puck off of him. He's a big centre who wins the faceoffs and is extremely reliable defensively. When he was 16, I had to push him to go offence because he wanted to be so reliable defensively. He has great vision and is slowly building up his speed ... he's going to be a terrific NHL player."
--Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher
Sean Couturier Highlight Video (via marrizurieta)