There will be no contract year for Sean Couturier.
The Flyers’ center signed a well-earned eight-year, $62 million contract extension on Thursday. Couturier was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season.
With his development into the 2019-20 Selke Trophy winner and a do-it-all center, Couturier had become a bargain on his current six-year, $26 million contract. The deal, which has one more year left, has an average annual value of $4.333 million. Couturier’s new contract has an AAV of $7.75 million.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said Couturier’s new deal has a full no-move clause which turns into a limited no-move clause during the final year in 2029-30.
“He’s a premier player,” Fletcher said. “It’s a premier contract.”
On top of the raise, the 28-year-old deserves the long-term security.
“To be part of the Flyers organization for another eight years following next year is extremely exciting,” Couturier said in a statement released by the team. “I like the way the team is built and the mix of players that we have. I’m really looking forward to it but especially this year. We’ve made a lot of changes, but it’s all positive and very exciting.”
Couturier missed 11 games because of injuries during the Flyers’ disappointing 2020-21 season. In the second game of the season, he suffered a costochondral separation and was forced to miss the next 10 games. He also dealt with a previous hip issue, which forced him to miss a game in March and had lingering effects.
Considering the circumstances, Couturier still had a pretty solid season. Despite being a minus player for just the second time in his career (minus-4), Couturier won his third straight Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP, led Flyers forwards with 19:20 minutes per game, finished second on the team in goals (18), and fourth in points (41).
But the Flyers yielded an NHL-most 3.52 goals per game and didn’t make the playoffs.
“It was a grind,” Couturier said at his end-of-the-season press conference in May. “I only played 45 and it was a grind. Especially when I missed that game there in the Island and I came back, took me probably seven to 10 days to kind of get my legs going again and I wasn’t feeling as good as before that injury. But yeah, it was tough to recover from any sort of little injuries, so it was a grind. But every team went through that schedule. It might have been a little tougher because COVID hit us, but we needed to be better and we weren’t good enough.”