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Philadelphia Flyers Midterm Top 25 Under 25, No. 11: Nick Cousins

With a controversial start to his career, Nick Cousins looks to move on and make his play the topic of discussion.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

Nick Cousins

Birthdate: July 20, 1993 (age 20)
Acquired via: Drafted 68th overall (3rd round) in 2011
Current Team/League: Adirondack Phantoms, AHL
Nationality: Canada (Belleville, Ontatio)
Size: 5'11", 177 pounds
Contract: Two-way contact ($70,000 per year in AHL, $811,667 per year in NHL) through 2016

When the Flyers nabbed Nick Cousins in the third round of the 2011 draft, it seemed like they possibly pulled off a steal.

He had just finished a solid season in the OHL, putting up 29 goals an 68 points for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Concerns about his size had him slip a bit lower in the draft, but it's clear that the Flyers were enticed by reports about his two-way play and high possession game.

He continued to blossom at the junior level, upping his point total to 88 the next season (a team leading tally), and it seemed like he was clearly in the pipeline for the Flyers. Then something awful happened.

In the summer of 2012, Cousins and two teammates were charged with sexual assault for having intercourse with a woman against her will. Holy hell. The charges kept him from attending the Greyhounds' training camp that summer, and he had a lengthy battle in court. Charges were eventually dropped, though, when the court ruled there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction."

Now, clearly it was never ruled that Cousins had committed any crime, but it should be noted that sexual assault cases are difficult to prosecute and even harder to gain a conviction. Travis notes that only about 5 percent of rapes ever lead to a felony conviction. I'm not saying we should treat the guy as though he were convicted, but we should be aware of the circumstances around sexual assault and how it's handled.

Anyway, despite being in and out of court, Cousins had an absolute monster of a season in 2012-2013, notching an incredible 103 points in just 64 games. After the sexual assault charges were dropped, he joined the Adirondack Phantoms at the tail end of their season.

We saw a bit of Cousins in the pre-season this year and he looked...OK, I guess? I don't remember him standing out too much, but I know he was always considered an option to keep at the NHL level (albeit with sheltered minutes). Currently, he's in Adirondack, and has put up 13 points in 48 games. Not exactly lighting the league on fire, but respectable enough for his first professional season.

It's unclear whether or not we'll ever see Cousins play in the NHL, but I'm willing to bet we do. All signs point to his development continuing at a brisk pace, and that just might entice the front office to give the kid a chance.

How we voted for Nick Cousins:

Albert Allison Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Travis
15 10 13 15 6 11 10 10

Who we voted for at No. 11:

Albert Allison Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Travis
Anthony Stolarz Mark Alt Petr Straka Samuel Morin Anthony Stolarz Zac Rinaldo Jason Akeson Tye McGinn