Nine months ago, Scott Laughton made his National Hockey League debut. He played well in five games, but was sent back to juniors. If Laughton wants to play in Philadelphia, that is up to him.
Laughton, the team’s first pick in the 2012 N.H.L. Entry Draft, is a favorite to make the team once Training Camp concludes. The 19-year-old did not register a point in his first five games, but displayed a solid defensive game for someone so young. Despite his impressive play, General Manager Paul Holmgren sent Laughton back to the Oshawa Generals, his junior team. N.H.L. rules state if a player participates in more than five games, the first year of his entry-level deal will count against the cap.
Wednesday afternoon the Flyers released their finalized Training Camp roster and Laughton was on the list.
With the exception of Simon Gagne and Ruslan Fedotenko, every forward from last season will be back. Adam Hall, acquired through waivers last season, signed a one-year deal and will likely make the team. That leaves one spot written in the sand for Laughton.
This is just my personal opinion, but going into Training Camp, these are my projected forward lines:
Laughton is a natural center, but young players have changed positions in previous years. Look no further than Claude Giroux who was drafted as a right wing.
Petr Straka and Michael Raffl have a shot to make the roster, but Laughton’s experience in the N.H.L. gives him the upper hand. Laughton’s strong two-way game matches well with Sean Couturier and Matt Read. I’m not going to give Couturier grief for last year’s production because he was often paired with defensive-minded linemates, which only hurt his offensive numbers. With Read on the right wing and Laughton on the left, the line is a dual threat. All three of them have good defensive skills and have the offensive potential to score. Keep in mind of Giroux, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter who all found their offensive game during their third year.
Laughton has shown he can play with the pros when given the chance. His experience gives him a huge advantage, but Laughton must have another good Training Camp to earn that spot on the roster.
*Snap Shots about Laughton
-Laughton’s 2012-13 regular season numbers do not jump off the page – 23 goals, 33 assists in 49 games – for a junior player, but he exploded for 13 points – seven goals, six assists – in seven playoff games.
-Once the junior league season ended, Laughton played six games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers minor league affiliate. During his six-game stint, he totaled three points.
Laughton’s game will not often make the highlight reel, but he plays a gritty two-way game.