2011 NHL Draft: Early round picks pay off for Philadelphia Flyers

By Jashvina Shah
Sean Couturier - Philadelphia Flyers

Photo: Sean Couturier has become an effective two-way center for the Philadelphia Flyers, playing in 350 career games with the franchise. (courtesy Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)



The Philadelphia Flyers took six players, spread out over seven rounds, in the 2011 NHL Draft. The first two picks, earned from trades with Columbus, featured a first rounder and a third rounder. Philadelphia also had two fourth round picks, a sixth round pick and a seventh round pick. The Flyers, however, did not have a second round pick.

The first round pick ended up being forward Sean Couturier, now a staple for the Flyers. And the third round pick was Nick Cousins, a center who has been making his way to the NHL.
Philadelphia’s other picks were not so fruitful, featuring four players that have turned out to be either minor leaguers or players who have departed the NHL system or retired from hockey.

Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville Voltiguers (QMJHL), 1st round, 8th overall
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games: 350

Sean Couturier was drafted eighth overall in 2011. After being drafted, he made the NHL immediately, spending the 2011-12 season with the Flyers. In his first season he netted 13 goals and 27 points over 77 games, cementing his status as an NHL player. The next season was split between the AHL and the NHL, a byproduct of the NHL lockout. He still recorded 15 points in 46 games with the Flyers and added 28 points through 31 games with the Phantoms.

In the 2013-14 season, he played in every game during the NHL season, scoring a career-high 39 points. He followed with another complete season in 2014-15 and a career-high 15 goals. That season, Couturier also played for Canada at the World Championship and had seven points over 10 games.

Couturier just completed his fifth season in the NHL, where he played in 63 games in an injury-shortened season. Despite the drop in games, he matched his career high of 39 points. At just 23 years old, Couturier has become an important part of Philadelphia’s roster.

Nick Cousins, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), 3rd round, 68th overall
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games: 47

Nick Cousins was taken in the middle of the draft and rejoined the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL the following season, where he recorded a career-high 88 points in 65 games. He joined the Phantoms in 2011-12 and played in one game after the completion of the OHL season. The next season was a mix of the same, with Cousins playing in 64 games for the Greyhounds and recording 103 points. He then joined the Phantoms for seven games, where he scored his first AHL point.

In 2013-14, Cousins turned pro. He spent 74 games with the Phantoms and recorded 29 points. There were some growing pains, but the forward improved over the season. The next year he was one of Lehigh Valley’s best forwards, netting 56 points in 64 games. He also joined the Flyers for the first time in his career, appearing in 11 games.

This season Cousins earned some more NHL playing time and finished the season with the Flyers. He appeared in 36 regular season NHL games and scored six goals and 11 points and played in six playoff games. With the Phantoms, Cousins scored 38 points in 38 games. Cousins has progressed over his time with the Flyers, but just completed the last year of his entry-level deal.

Colin Suellentrop, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL), 4th round, 116th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games: 0

Colin Suellentrop, a stay-at-home defenseman, was taken in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He still had a long way to develop, but there were hopes he could channel his size and continue progressing.

After the draft he returned to the Oshawa Generals for this third season in 2011-12. The defenseman scored 17 points in 67 games that season. He returned to the OHL the next year, scoring a career-high 25 points over 66 games. In 2013-14, he completed his fifth and final season with Oshawa and netted 23 points.

The defenseman then entered the University of New Brunswick in the CIS. In his first year in 2014-15, he had seven points. This past season, Suellentrop scored 10 points in 23 games for New Brunswick. He is no longer an NHL prospect.

Marcel Noebels, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), 4th round, 118th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games: 0

Marcel Noebels, a German-born winger, moved to North America in 2010-11, the year leading up to the NHL Draft. He joined the Seattle Thunderbirds, where he scored 54 points over 66 games. After being drafted, he played for both the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Portland Winterhawks, scoring 58 points over 62 games total. He also played for Germany in the World Junior Championship and scored four goals and nine points over five games.

In 2012-13, Noebels turned pro, joining Adirondack and suiting up for the Phantoms for 43 games. He had 23 points in the AHL but also spent some time in the ECHL, where he recorded 30 points over 31 games. Noebels also played in three games for Germany at the World Championship that year. He spent the next season with Adirondack and had 11 points over 52 games.

At the beginning of 2014, Noebels’ contract was bought out by the Flyers. He joined Eisbaren Berlin that season and has played for the club ever since, appearing in a total of 57 games over the past two seasons. Noebels scored 33 points in this past season with the team.

Petr Placek, RW, Hotchkiss School (USHS), 6th round, 176th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games: 0

Petr Placek captained the Hotchkiss School leading up to his draft year but only appeared in 16 games. Following a history of injuries, he joined Harvard for his freshman season after being taken in the sixth round of the draft; he appeared in 16 games and recorded one point. In 2012-13 Placek scored two goals in 29 games as a sophomore.

Despite having a solid prep school career, Placek didn’t factor in much at Harvard. He only played in one game his junior season and left the team and has not played since 2013-14.

Derek Mathers, RW, Peterborough Petes (OHL), 7th round, 206th overall
Status: Bust
NHL Games: 0

Drafted late in 2011, Derek Mathers returned to the Peterborough Petes as an alternate captain. He had 17 points in 65 games and appeared in nine contests with the Phantoms. In 2012-13, he recorded a career-high 29 points. He played in 12 games with Adirondack before joining the Phantoms for good in 2013-14. That season, he only played in 34 games and had two points.

In 2014-15, Mathers appeared in 50 games but also saw three in the ECHL with the Reading Royals. This past season, Mathers spent 27 games with Reading and it appears he will be a career minor leaguer, either at the AHL or ECHL level.

Hockey’s Future takes a look back at the 2011 NHL Draft of the Philadelphia Flyers in the video below, which includes footage of top pick Sean Coutuier from the 2011 NHL Combine, and draft footage of Nick Cousins.


Notable Playoff Performances

There were only a handful of Flyers prospects still playing in the month of May. Ivan Provorov had three assists in five games for the Brandon Wheat Kings as he helped his team to the Memorial Cup tournament. He finished the playoffs with 13 points.

Also in the Memorial Cup was Philippe Myers with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The defenseman finished the QMJHL playoffs with 16 points over 20 games.

Another 2015 draft pick, Samuel Dove-McFalls, appeared in 17 games for Saint John in the playoffs, recording six goals and an assist. Calgary’s Travis Sanheim, a former first-round draft pick, led the Hitmen with six points in the playoffs.

Follow Jashvina Shah on Twitter via @icehockeystick