#1. Kopitar getting older, losing steam
Perhaps one of the only threats still remaining to Couturier, Anze Kopitar is a two-time Selke winner and perennial nominee who hasn’t won since the 2017-18 season. The Los Angeles Kings star is still kicking in year 18, but he’s also got plenty of wear on his tires with 1,295 NHL regular season games and counting.
Last season was the first time Kopitar finished in the top-five of Selke voting since he last won the award in 2018. The Kings have been an up-and-down team as their core players aged over the years, and without a stable goaltending situation, it’s going to be a chaotic year. If Kopitar can’t get saves, the numbers will reflect poorly on his chances of winning again.
Los Angeles is currently relying on a tandem of 36-year-old Cam Talbot and NHL journeyman Pheonix Copley, whose starting job was usurped by Joonas Korpisalo upon his arrival last season. Korpisalo now tends goal for the Ottawa Senators, while Copley got shelled for six goals on 19 shots in his only start of the season thus far.
In contrast for Couturier and the Flyers, Carter Hart has been mostly rock-solid so far, highlighted by his recent 25-save shutout of the Canucks at home. Hart only needs one more shutout the rest of the way to match his career-high two shutouts, which he set last season.
This Philadelphia team is a young one that needs to take steps forward, and it looks like Hart is beginning to do that. Couturier’s job is to be the responsible beacon of light guiding them on their path as a bastion of Flyers hockey.
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The pieces will fall into place, but only Couturier can ensure he competes for a second Selke Trophy – nobody else.