The 2012 NHL Draft was a defensive-minded one. The Philadelphia Flyers are a team with defensive holes to fill. Figure they would draft a defenseman, right?
Not so fast.
With the 20th overall pick, the Flyers selected center Scott Laughton. Laughton had 21 goals, 53 points, and 101 penalty minutes while playing for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. The 18 year-old drew comparisons to former Flyers captain Mike Richards. He even models his game after him.
The Flyers Prospect Camp ended on Sunday. I was lucky enough to make it to three days out of the week long event. I had my eye fixed upon Laughton very often. Honestly, I was a lot more impressed than I thought I’d be. Laughton is a very young kid (May 30th, 1994). However, he certainly doesn’t act like it. Although he was the youngest at camp, he played with certain leadership qualities that blew my mind. Former Flyer Ian Laperriere, recently named Director of Player Personnel, had nothing but good things to say about Laughton. During scrimmages, he would step in and fight to defend a player who had just taken a big hit. The kid is a hell of a teammate, and that type of play is what philly hockey is all about.
Laughton is a grinding, hard nosed, two-way forward. He is very versatile, who is certainly not afraid to drop the gloves. I noticed that his skating could use some work, he manages to outwork the opposition with sheer determination. Standing at 6’0″, 180 lbs, I believe that Laughton needs to get a bit bigger. But the kid is so motivated, that I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Scott Laughton is the type of player you grow to love because of his passion and commitment to the game of hockey.
So, is this young kid NHL ready? I don’t think he is yet. But there is no doubt he will find himself in the big leagues very soon. Remember, he is still incredibly young. In the NHL, I see Laughton as a role playing, versatile, two-way, third-line center. He is a great penalty killer and could be a good secondary scorer.
I am excited to see Scott Laughton play in the next level of hockey. He is one of those guys that can set the tempo, get the crowd into it, and rally a team around. He will work his tail off to be successful, and I know he will be. At the end of the day, Flyers fans will be satisfied with their first round pick in this year’s draft.
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