Philadelphia Flyers Star Center Sean Couturier herniated disc in the back that could keep him out for the whole 2022-23 season, reports Anthony SanFilippo of Crossing Broad. Expect Couturier to be out for at least a few months.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Flyers and Couturier looking for a second opinion to determine the exact nature of the injury. It’s unclear if the same problem has sidelined Couturier in all but 29 games last season.
Couturier, now 29, has played just 74 games in the past two seasons after winning the 2020 Selke Trophy. The Flyers have certainly felt his absence, missing the playoffs for the first time in consecutive seasons. continued since 1993 and 1994. Given the state of the team now, especially without the Couturier, this will be the third such season in 2022-23.
One of the best defensive forwards in the league, Couturier’s stock has skyrocketed over the past five seasons after a somewhat sluggish start to his career. Elevated to the squad for the 2017-18 season, Couturier then racked up 76 points for the straight season playing more than 20 minutes per game. Now the group’s #1 untested center with Claude Giroux Leaving the team, he was the heart and soul of the Flyers’ offense.
Significant back injuries in recent seasons also do not bode well for Couturier’s long-term future. If it’s another serious injury that will keep him out for the whole season, it’s questionable whether Couturier can return to his former form when healthy.
The Flyers have been busy adding strikers in the PTO market over the past few days, including Antoine Roussel and Artem Anisimov. None of them, even if they do sign, will even come close to replacing Couturier’s crater-sized hole in the Flyers lineup. Kevin Hayes will play a huge role next season as the team’s frontline center for the foreseeable future after picking up 31 points from 48 games last season.
It could at least be a mediocre season for the Flyers if everything going on right now seems to end before it even begins. Without the Couturier, it’s hard to imagine this version of Flyers ending up anywhere but the bottom five of the tournament, if not the bottom three. It will be an extremely challenging first season for new head coach John Tortorella, who will be tasked with re-regulating offense in Couturier’s absence.