|"This is a pretty common thing with a player of Couturier's size, however, and can be improved with power skating work/improvements to mechanics and also off-ice plyometrics and ladder work to increase footspeed/agility. Milan Lucic told me that his off-season grass drills and plyometrics work (along with the power skating he does) has been instrumental in his success in the NHL after being red-flagged during his draft season for skating/mobility. Because Couturier's speed is fine when he gets going, he doesn't have all that far to go."|
--That's draft guru Kirk Luedeke on Sean Couturier's skating issues in a must-read interview with In Lou We Trust's Tom Stivali.
Why has Sean Couturier plunged down the draft rankings since January? If he's not that far away with his skating and it's a correctable problem, scouts, other than Luedke must know this.
We've heard the "he didn't improve enough" argument, but Scott shot holes in that as well:
That said, I think it means that we know a lot more about the players who have been consistent over a two-year period. The level they've established in junior is more likely to translate to the NHL, which is good to know! For those taking a big step, or who haven't previously played in the CHL, their level of ability is much less clear. They might significantly overperform or underperform their draft-year totals, but you don't really know which it's going to be (it looks to me like there are extreme examples on both sides).
The established level of ability is more important.
He wins faceoffs, plays on the penalty kill, is a killer at even strength and creates offense through dangerous shots. My feelings haven't changed:
Sean Couturier is a huge center, an outstanding playmaker, an excellent goal scorer, an incredible faceoff man and a superior two-way player.
Each reason for his fall has a major hole in it and he remains, in my estimation, the top center available in the draft. Lou Lamoriello must be giddy with anticipation over the potential of Couturier sliding to him.