Some things never change with the Flyers.
According to multiple team sources, Crossing Broad has learned that star center Sean Couturier will miss significant time to start the season after suffering a herniated disc in his back during strength and conditioning drills last week.
Couturier, 29, missed most of last season with a back injury that eventually required surgery in February. He was slated to come back and center the Flyers’ top line this season, but then suffered this injury during off-ice workouts with the Flyers’ new strength and conditioning team.
According to sources, while Couturier is being re-evaluated, it’s not looking good and that the belief is he will miss at least 12 weeks. That, however, could be on the optimistic end. There is a thought it could be longer and extend well into the second half of the season, if not the entire season.
It is unclear whether this injury is directly related to the back surgery from February, or if this is a new problem for Couturier, but to lose him for at least the first three months of the season would be a crushing blow for the Flyers.
An attempt to reach Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher was unsuccessful, prior to this post being published.
The Flyers released their training camp roster and although Couturier is still listed, so is veteran center Artem Anisimov, whom the Flyers quietly signed to a professional tryout contract, prior to camp.
One source indicated that Anisimov’s signing didn’t have anything to do with Couturier’s injury.
That being the case, his signing is all the more important now, and if he can still play at an NHL level, will at least give the Flyers veteran depth down the middle.
Anisimov, 34, played last season in Russia’s KHL, but prior to that played parts of 13 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Columbus, Chicago and Ottawa. He is a big-bodied, left-handed center, just like Couturier. Anisimov’s career-best offensive output in any one season was 22 goals and 45 points for the Blackhawks in 2016-17. He has 180 goals and 196 assists for 376 points in 771 career NHL games.
Like Couturier, Anisimov does kill penalties. Unlike Couturier, he is not a good face-off center. His puck possession metrics are slightly above average (CF% 51.0).
We will update once we have further information.
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