Flyers’ Couturier may be auditioning for team captaincy

Flyers center Sean Couturier has donned the 'A' for Philly for a long time. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Flyers center Sean Couturier has donned the 'A' for Philly for a long time. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Flyers’ 2023 training camp is well under way and things seem to be going swimmingly so far, but it is hard not to remember that they are one of six NHL teams without a captain. The other five? The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Seattle Kraken.

Of those five, one could make a legitimate case for the Coyotes appointing Clayton Keller, for example, and maybe players like MacKenzie Weegar or Nazem Kadri for the Flames. The Blackhawks have lost longtime captain Jonathan Toews, while the Kraken are still in their fledgling years and the Ducks still too young and inconsistent to have a true leader.

As for the Flyers, they seem to be caught in the middle of this flux. Of course, they traded their own superstar captain Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers for Owen Tippett in March of 2022 and have yet to name his successor. However, it’s not like they’re short on options.

Marc Staal, Garnet Hathaway, and Cam Atkinson would all be sensible choices, but all three wily vets are either brand new or still acclimating to Philly. Former Selke Trophy winner Sean Couturier is not. 

With Couturier re-entering the picture for the Flyers, head coach John Tortorella has made a point to get a good glimpse of the team’s loyal servant in action, both on and off the ice. Tortorella was careful not to reveal his hand, but offered a very interesting quote nonetheless:

"I’m really anxious to get [Couturier] into some action. See how he acts on the bench and all those things. I have a pretty good idea how he plays on the ice. I want to see how he goes about his business during the games, in between periods, in between games as the season rolls along."

The ending dumps some cold water onto Couturier’s prospects of being named captain this season, but it seems that his head coach has quickly earmarked him as a potential leader of men on this young Flyers team. 2023 will be the five-year anniversary of No. 14’s first time wearing the ‘A’ for Philadelphia, but it might be time for a new letter by the sound of things.

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Although it’s close to the start of the season, former Flyer and teammate of Couturier, Brayden Schenn, was just tapped to serve as the St. Louis Blues’ newest captain. It’s not too late for Couturier to be named captain ahead of this season, and it seems like a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.