By midseason, Alain Vigneault was calling him “Dr. Coots.” Any time the Flyers’ first-year coach wanted to get a struggling player back to form, he’d put him on Sean Couturier’s line and the results would be remarkable.
The good doctor on Friday picked up his second consecutive Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP. Couturier, 27, was second on the team in points (59), tied for second in assists (37), led the team with a plus-21 rating, and led the NHL by winning 59.7% of his faceoffs, a career high.
“[It was] another year where I improved and as a team, we evolved and got better as the year went on,” he said shortly after play was halted in March. “I kind of feel my year reflected the same as the team.”
Couturier also should be in the running for the league’s Selke Award for best defensive forward. He was sixth last season, second the year before.
The Bobby Clarke winner is selected by a panel of local sportswriters and broadcasters and was first awarded to Pelle Lindbergh in 1984-85. Ron Hextall (1986-89) and Eric Lindros (1993-96) are the only players to win it three years in a row. Among active Flyers, Claude Giroux has won it five times, Jake Voracek once.
“There have been a lot of great names throughout Flyers history who have won this and it’s a great honor to receive it,” Couturier said in a statement. “Without my teammates, it would be hard to accept this. They were a big part of my success this year and I think the overall experience of our lineup that we’ve added this year and the younger guys getting older every year, it’s been a good mix and has led us to have that success.”