Future Considerations

Consider This! Couturier Kept Silent
October 22, 2010, 6:51 pm
Filed under: NHL Entry Draft, QMJHL | Tags: , , , , , , ,

From Aaron Vickers, Future Considerations:

Silence can speak volumes.

Especially in the case of 2011 draft eligible prospect Sean Couturier.

According to Willy Palov of the Chronicle Herald, agent Gilles Lupien has put a gag order on his client Couturier, ranked as the top player available for the draft by Future Considerations, until Canada’s World Junior selection camp in Toronto this December.

Puzzled as to why an agent would muzzle the mouth of his prized bull? You aren’t alone.

For the next eight months leading up to the draft in Minnesota in late June, Couturier and other top prospects are going to be observed, poked, provoked, prodded, needled and dissected in every way imaginable. Their skating will be evaluated. Their hockey sense assessed. Their maturity judged.

And with millions of dollars invested in the futures of each respective NHL organization, teams have the absolute right to do so. So what does it tell an NHL team when Couturier will not talk?

How is an NHL team going to view Lupien’s move? If the demands of the media are too much for Couturier to handle now, how will he not wilt at the next level?

Teams will raise questions like this and on draft day, the move could cost Couturier. Off ice analysis is just as important as on-ice factors when a team is spending a first overall pick.

If Lupien doesn’t want Couturier handling the media now, how is he going to feel when NHL teams get a hold of him at the NHL combine? NHL executives will have a field day on this kid.

But what’s worse is Lupien has effectively hurt the QMJHL as well.

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Without doubt, Couturier is the league’s biggest star since Sidney Crosby. Couturier is a player the QMJHL needs to build around. At 17 years of age last season, he led the league in scoring with 41 goals and 96 points. His plus-62 was also best.

It is the exact opposite situation with Couturier’s biggest competition this side of the pond.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, ranked third behind Couturier and Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson, is seemingly ready and eager to talk to anyone and everyone willing to lend him their ear.

He welcomes it, and as shy of a kid as he can come off as, he enjoys it and if that’s a stretch, in the very least he’s not tired of it.

And now, some notes and quotes from around the prospect world.

Is there a more underrated prospect than Calgary Flames prospect and Chilliwack Bruins standout Ryan Howse? His 14 goals are three more than any other WHLer and finished with a share for third in goal scoring last season behind only Jordan Eberle and Kyle Beach. Spoke with a person close to Howse in his draft year and was told the only thing the kid lacked was a belief in himself. He believes now.

Last week the Toronto Sun ran a story on the front of their sports page with the headline ‘Baby Leaf’ and a photo of Nazem Kadri with a soother in his mouth. Now, I will be the first to admit I’m not a big Kadri fan, but this was just so far beyond the line of good taste.  Is there a prospect this year that is more under the microscope than the 20-year-old?

Undrafted Tri-City Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin was suspended 12 games for his reckless hit on Saskatoon Blades defenseman Josh Nicholls, who suffered a concussion, bruised knee and back. While it is hard to determine the level of intent from Shinnimin, were his actions really that less severe than the Michael Liambas/Ben Fanelli incident from a season ago? Liambas’ junior career was effectively ended.

“I want to be in Manchester as little as possible to be honest.” – Los Angeles Kings prospect Brandon Kozun on how he is looking forward to turning pro with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs.

Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VickersFC. Follow the official Future Considerations Twitter Feed at www.twitter.com/FCHockey.


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