Sean Couturier reveals he had offseason sports hernia surgery

A dip in Sean Couturier's play during the second half of the season may have an explanation as the veteran forward revealed he had offseason sports hernia surgery.
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

Typically at the end of the season, you find out which players were hurt and which may need surgery during the summer. It puts things into perspective on how some players finished out the season.

It was clear from the last few months of the season that Sean Couturier wasn't the same player he was at the start of the year. Most felt it was his body wearing down after not playing for over a year and a half. It had been a long time since he played that far into a season. And he was given hard minutes right at the beginning of the year. Maybe his body was just not used to the grind.

Turns out his play might've had another explanation for it. On the Nasty Knuckles podcast, hosted by Derek Settlemyre and Riley Cote, Sean Couturier quickly discussed why he was still in the Philadelphia area.

""I'm doing some rehab right now. Had a little sports hernia surgery, lower abs. Feeling great now, about to head back home this week and start the full training.""

Sean Couturier's second half dip might have a clearer explanation

Couturier began the season as if he didn't miss a beat. He had 23 points in the first 34 games of the season. He was looking like the former Selke-winning forward from years prior. Couturier posted a 55.47 CF% in his first 34 games of the season, second on the team. He had the third-best xGF% at 56.93. The team was better with him on the ice.

Flip the calendar and most of his numbers bottomed out. He was still driving play at a solid pace, ending the final 40 games with a 58.16 CF%. The team was still expected to outscore its opponents with Couturier on the ice. But that wasn't happening. The puck was going into the back of their net and Couturier was to blame some of the time. Offensively, he had 15 points from the beginning of January to the end of the season. He was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career as well.

Couturier was the first to admit that he wasn't playing well. But we now have a possible reason as to why his play suffered down the stretch. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when this injury may have first popped up. Players tend to play through injuries all the time and it can sometimes be hard to believe they even had one. Danny Briere did admit that Couturier had been battling through some things earlier in the year. It's possible this injury had been there most of the season.

The Flyers are quite familiar with this injury and surgery. Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere both went through it before the 2016-17 season. While Giroux played a full season the following year, his 14 goals were the lowest he put up since the lockout-shortened season. Gostisbehere had a career season in assists and points. No player heals the same way. Gostisbehere was early in his career, while Giroux was 10 years in.

It's fair to wonder if this is who Couturier is going to be for the rest of his contract. He's two years older than Giroux was when he had the surgery. It would be nice to see Couturier bounce back and have good health for the rest of his career.

For now, this provides a possible explanation of his play during the second half. The rest will be determined in time.