Flyers Prospect Nick Cousins Making Headlines and EnemiesBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Saturday, November 12th, 2011
When the Flyers drafted Nick Cousins this past June using the 3rd round pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets, my initial reaction was that it had to have been a selection based on pure talent, as opposed to need. It’s no secret that the defensive depth for the Flyers is weak while they have consistently had too many centers. With Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier in the system, where did Cousins fit in to their long-term plans?
Scouting reports at the time of his drafting indicated that it was difficult to tell how exactly he would fit onto any NHL team over time. He displayed strong offensive skills in his second season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, tallying 29 goals and 68 points, but his reliance on being a pest and playing as an agitator would lend itself more to a bottom six role.
This season, Cousins has taken advantage of his offseason training to get off to a fantastic start, putting up 11 goals in the first 20 games. He is on pace for 37 goals and 84 points, meaning that he is approaching Couturier levels of talent. While snubbed from the initial roster of the selection camp for Team Canada at the World Juniors Competition, Cousins was chosen for Team OHL in the SUBWAY super series, a tournament between the three Canadian junior leagues and a Russian team. A successful competition could help earn him a late nod to the WJC tournament.
The Flyers have done a terrible job in recent years of drafting players outside of the first round, so the fact that Cousins is earning praise among his peers is good for the longevity of the team.
At the other end of the spectrum, Cousins unfortunately made additional headlines as a result of a vicious spearing from Ryan Rupert of the London Knights after the Greyhounds won 4-3. Apparently Cousins had been chirping the other team all night, and shooting the puck at the empty net after the final buzzer sounded angered Rupert enough to swing his stick at Cousin’s stomach and then try to punch Cousins in the face while he was down on the ice.
Rupert has since been suspended indefinitely. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with Cousins’ behavior, it will likely be a factor in where he fits in the NHL if he continues to play on the edge (and in the face) of his opposition.
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