If you’re a Canadian hockey fan you probably know Sean Couturier, who was drafted 8th overall in 2011, with high upside but quickly turned into the under rated guy who’s very good defensively with low counting stats. I’m going to look at Sean Couturier’s start to the 2017-18 season in which he has exploited so far averaging over a point a game, and try to find out if he is the real deal or if this is just a stretch of good luck and/or better line mates mixed with more favourable situations.
To start obviously on the surface he’s sitting at 2.94 p/60 compared to last years 1.76 p/60, which obviously is a huge jump in production. His CF% takes a bit of a dip at 53.6 CF% from 54.69 CF%, but his corsi rel% is up from 4.42 Rel CF% to 6.42 Rel CF%, part of this is being on a line with Claude Giroux who also had a positive Rel CF%. This year he’s sitting at 56.98 XGF% and a +8.62 relative to his teammates, compared to last years 54.12 XGF% and a +6.33 relative to his teammates. Looking at these numbers show he is producing at a much higher rate this year, but the first thing that usually suggests a string of good luck is that his PDO is sitting at a cool 105.01 compared to his very favourable 99.97 from last season, also his shooting percentage is up over 6 points from last year to 18.92% compared to his career average of 10.4%.
Were going to take a look at how his line mates have affected him, in 2016-17 his most common line mates were Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny, who as a line played together for 234 minutes. They were a line who did have the advantage in shot shares, but they’re XGF% was at a -1.03 (which is basically the same relative to they’re team mates). Side note here they started 54% of they’re zone starts in the offensive zone which is surprising as couturier is billed as the defensive center. So to summarize this line combo always had the advantage in possession but struggled to outscore they’re opponents. In 2017-18 Sean’s most common line mates were Jakub Voracek once again with Claude Giroux, who have been on the ice together for 213 minutes. They have owned 55 CF% and a very impressive +9.25 Rel CF%. They have a 72 GF% and a good 60 XGF% which is +13.59 relative to they’re teammates. With 47% of they’re zone starts in the offensive end of the ice, this line seems to be trusted more and is playing well defensively. Now did you think we were done with luck? Hopefully not because the Couturier-Voracek-Konecny line had some bad luck with a 96.97 PDO, compared to a line of Couturier-Giroux-Voracek with a 106.87 PDO (very, very likely to regress quite a bit).
One area that you and I would assume has helped him is his extra power play time he’s been given this year. In 2016-17 he averaged 1.7 minutes of PP time a game and had 1.01 P/60 (he had 0 G 2A) with an 9.64 XGF and a -10.4 Rel XGF%, which shows a player who is not very productive on the PP. in 2017-18 so far he has been given a little over 2.5 minutes per game with 1.38 P/60 (obviously a small sample size, all he has so far this year is 1G 0A) with a -1.37 Rel XGF% is an a big jump in a small sample but still not good numbers for someone expected to produce.
What we’ve got here Basically is all of his increase in production has been at 5v5, even if his good luck regresses, this is very valuable production to the flyers who were one of the worst teams at 5v5 last year. In conclusion I would say you get bet on a bit off regression on his offensive numbers but should still finish in the 55-70 point range which at any point would be a career high by quite a bit.
A quick addition that I found very interesting is Couturier’s hero chart compared to a 1st line center:
First thing I want to point out is that his stats are from the last two years not including the start to this season. Given that I find it very interesting that his offensive output that was considered lack luster is very close if not on par to a 1st line center who is way above average at supressing shots.
Thanks for reading guys! I’d like to do more of these and make it an interesting series. This post was written by J. Lupes straight from Robidas island.