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Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25: Nick Cousins moves up one spot to No. 11

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After a stellar AHL season that saw him make his NHL debut in March, the center moved up one spot from where he sat in last summer's rankings.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nick Cousins

Position: Forward (Center)
Birthdate: July 20, 1993 (22)
Acquired Via: 2011 NHL Draft - Round 3, Pick 68
2014-15 Team/League: Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL - 22 G, 34 A in 64 GP
Nationality: Canadian (Belleville, ON)
Size: 5'10", 169
Contract Status: Signed on entry-level contract through 2016
Ranking in August 2014 25 Under 25: 12

Nick Cousins came into last season looking to bounce back from a hugely disappointing 2013-2014 campaign. Two seasons ago, Cousins scored just 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 74 games, the lowest point total in his career. However, just prior to this down year he was climbing up the ranks of the Ontario Hockey League with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Cousins scored 32 points in his first OHL season (2009-10) before more than doubling that his next year: 29 goals, 39 assists for 68 points in 68 games. Nick also competed in the under-18 World Junior Championships for Canada and recorded four goals and four assists in seven games. He progressed along this path for the next two seasons, scoring 88 points in 65 games in the 2011-12 season and 103 points (including 76 assists) in 64 games in 2012-13.

Cousins also saw his first professional action in the 2011-12 season, just one game with the Adirondack Phantoms in which he was kept off of the scoresheet. He had a longer stint the following season, recording an assist and two penalty minutes in seven AHL games.

Nick hoped to use this experience to jumpstart his first professional season last year, but did just the opposite. As mentioned above he scored a lowly 29 points while posting a plus/minus of minus-9 in 74 games. Fortunately for both Cousins and the Flyers, he bounced back in a big way.

Cousins started off slow but led the Phantoms in scoring last season with 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 64 games. From January to March he played at over a point per game pace with 14 goals and 24 assists in 29 games. Below is a video of his hat trick in the midst of this run.

This hot stretch in the 2015 calendar year led to him making his NHL debut on March 17th. He played 11 games in total with the Flyers between March and April. He didn't register a point, but was also playing limited minutes. He averaged just under nine minutes per game, and his most common linemate was Zac Rinaldo.

That brings us to this season. Cousins is expected to start the season as one of Lehigh Valley's top forwards. Cousins is blocked a bit in the organization at the center position behind Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and even fellow fringe-Phantom Scott Laughton. It is the last year of his entry-level contract and Cousins will have to make a huge impact if he wants to see ice time at the NHL level this season.

If Cousins can build on last season then he might be able to make an impression with the Flyers just in the Nick of time, as his contract expires at the end of this season.

How we voted for Nick Cousins:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
11 N/A 10 11 10 14 10 11 12 8 11 12

Who we voted for at No. 11:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
Nick Cousins Danick Martel Mark Alt Nick Cousins Mark Alt Robert Hagg Nicolas Aube-Kubel Nick Cousins Nicolas Aube-Kubel Travis Konecny Nick Cousins Taylor Leier