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Couturier dealing with sprained shoulder

Photo Credit: Heather Barry

Flyers captain Sean Couturier is dealing with what appears to be a sprained shoulder. The team has not made an official announcement on his prognosis but a tweet by Kevin Kurz, The Athletic’s Flyers beat reporter, relayed the status this morning (April 4).

Couturier was injured in the first period of Monday’s game against the New York Islanders after crashing heavily into the boards. He played just five shifts for 3:21 minutes of ice time after being bumped up from the fourth line to centre a line with Tyson Foerster and Travis Konecny. There’s no word as to how long Couturier will be out but with six games remaining in the regular season ideally the sooner he returns the better. Granted like most of the Flyers playing with bumps and bruises it’s unlikely he’ll be returning at 100 per cent health.

It’s not the first time Couturier has dealt with a shoulder injury but it seems to be the first time he’s had an issue with his right shoulder. During the 2016 first-round playoff series against Washington Couturier suffered a grade 2 to 3 shoulder separation to his left shoulder after taking a huge hit from Alex Ovechkin in the second period of the opening game (thanks Sportsnet). Couturier got up from the hit and stayed on the ice to make a play on the puck before heading to the bench. He missed the remainder of the series but was ready for the start of the 2016-17 season.

Couturier, coming back from a lengthy rehab following two back surgeries, started the 2023-24 season strong, so strong in fact some had him an early nominee for another Selke Award as best defensive forward. However the second half of this season has been quite trying with just two goals in the 2024 calendar year: one against Seattle on Feb. 10 and the other against Calgary on Jan. 6. Being scratched for two games and relegated to the fourth line were also lowlights in these last few months.

Perhaps the bigger issue now is how the Flyers go about replacing Couturier down this important stretch. With Morgan Frost being the most offensive-minded player down the middle it’ll be up to Scott Laughton and Ryan Poehling to pick up the minutes. Another possibility might be coach John Tortorella going with just 11 forwards and seven defensemen, possibly adding Ronnie Attard to the lineup to spread the minutes on the back end just a wee more evenly.

Regardless, the fact Couturier most likely won’t be facing surgery or extensive rehab on the shoulder this offseason is a blessing.

UPDATE – Couturier’s status has been made official by the team:

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