The Philadelphia Flyers have three big free agents to sign before the 2016-17 season: Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier. OK, time to scratch one off the list.
The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that they've re-signed Couturier to a "multi-year" deal ... which is just insulting because it literally doesn't tell us any of the important information, like the salary number or the contract term. Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports that the deal is six years in length and worth $4.33 million per year against the salary cap, or $26 million in total.
Here's how it breaks down per year:
Sean Couturier extension: $3.75M, $4M, $4.25M, $4.5M, $4.75M, $4.75M.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 28, 2015
This contract doesn't go into effect until next season, 2016-17, and it'll keep him in Philadelphia until 2021-22.
Couturier is one of the best young defensive forwards in hockey, although many have opined about his offensive numbers, including former head coach Craig Berube. It's possible that the Flyers could have used those offensive arguments against him in negotiating this new deal to a favorable, team-friendly outcome.
But the point remains: this is a damn good deal for the Flyers, because he's an absolute defensive stud and will only get better, considering he's just 22. Couturier's offensive numbers are going to improve, and I have a feeling that with this contract, he's going to grow into one of the best value players in hockey by the time he's into Years 3 and 4 of this deal.
In getting this extension out of the way a year earlier than they needed to, the Flyers are sending a message about how much they value Couturier as their shutdown center.
Couturier will earn $1.75 million against the cap in 2015-16, the final year of his current deal.