Flyers sign top pick Couturier

TORONTO -- Of the 20 players to make their preseason debut for the Flyers at the Air Canada Centre last night, tryout Adam Mair was not the only one on the ice without a contract.

No. 8 overall pick Sean Couturier was also playing without a signed deal, just a few months after being selected in the first round of June’s Entry Draft.

And after scoring his first NHL preseason goal, in the Flyers’ 4-0 win over Toronto, he didn’t remain unsigned for long.

The Flyers signed Couturier, 18, to a three-year, entry-level deal on Wednesday morning.

Couturier will earn the rookie maximum of $925,000 plus up to $450,000 in bonus, which makes his cap hit of $1.375 million.

First overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is expected to make the Edmonton Oilers, signed a max three-year entry-level deal with an annual salary cap hit of $3.775 million. That includes a maximum, $925,000 salary, $2.85 million in potential performance bonuses, and a $92,500 signing bonus each year.

No. 2 overall pick Gabriel Landeskog, who signed with Colorado, will make $3.55 against the cap. Defenseman Adam Larsson, the No. 4 overall pick who signed with New Jersey, will bring in $925,000 per season against the cap.

The most curious case is No. 10 overall pick, defenseman Jonas Brodin, selected two slots behind Couturier, signed in Minnesota for an annual cap hit of $1.475 million.

Couturier figures to fall somewhere in between. We’ll know more on that later.

Signing a deal does not mean that Couturier has increased his chances at all to make the Flyers’ roster. Even though the Flyers remain at the 50 contract limit, Couturier’s contract will not count against that number - due to the slide rule - if does not play more than 10 games and is returned to his junior team in Drummondville (QMJHL), where he would play under the watchful eye of former Flyer Denis Gauthier.

Despite a strong performance in his first preseason game, Couturier still remains a long-shot for to make the club. He would need to earn significant minutes on a night-in and night-out basis in order to continue his development. He is not eligible for the AHL since he is not yet 20 years old.

"I think everyone is just trying to prove themselves," Couturier said on Tuesday night. "We all have opportunities and we're trying to take advantage. I tried to approach it like it was any other game but for sure, it was special. I was quite nervous. Once I got going, I felt pretty good."

TONIGHT’S LINEUP: Facing the Maple Leafs again tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, coach Peter Laviolette has posted his lineup. Jaromir Jagr will not make his debut with the Flyers, and because of visa problems getting into Canada, he won't play Thursday. His debut might be Friday at Detroit. Since the Flyers are back in Ontario on Thursday, I am staying in Canada and ace Daily News sports writer Ed Barkowitz will be covering the team at home on Wednesday night. He gathered this lineup this morning from the team's skate:

Andreas Nodl - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Tomas Hyka
Max Talbot - Brayden Schenn - Matt Read
Ben Holmstrom - Blair Betts - Jody Shelley

Kimmo Timonen - Erik Gustafsson
Oskars Bartulis - Braydon Coburn
Kevin Marshall - Andrej Meszaros

Starter: Ilya Bryzgalov
Backup: Jason Bacashihua

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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