Scott Laughton has become a premier player for head coach John Tortorella and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers took Laughton in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft with the 20th overall pick and over the last few seasons, he has slowly been becoming what a Flyer should be. Leading by example, he Laughton has become the only Flyer to wear a letter on his jersey this season for John Tortorella. While Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov were stripped of their “A” on their sweater, it is still unknown if Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier will have letters, but as it stands, Laughton has the only one.
Laughton was a dark horse for the “C” coming into the season. While fans were positive Hayes, Atkinson, or Couturier were shoe-ins for the captaincy of this team, Tortorella shocked the entire fanbase when the home opener came against the New Jersey Devils and the only player with a letter was Scott Laughton.
Tortorella said that Laughton will be the only one wearing a letter and that he did not plan on naming a captain. While in the past, the captain of an NHL Club was the best player, today is not the case. Laughton exhibits leadership on the ice with his play and in the locker room. While the fans do not get to see everything behind the scenes, the respect Laughton receives from the rest of the team is evident.
Laughton was a low-risk, high-reward player. When the Flyers picked him, Laughton, depending on the outlet you read at the time, was given a grade of C- up to an A-. Many writers and media at the time were very conflicted with this pick for the Flyers. A lot of media were comparing him to Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gaunce because both players were drafted ahead of Scott Laughton in the OHL Priority Draft.
Brendan Gaunce has barely played in the NHL as his skill set never translated well and has bounced back and forth between the AHL and a couple of NHL teams. Alex Galchenyuk had a few good seasons where it looked like he was going to be an extremely important piece. Off-ice problems and chemistry issues have led to Galchenyuk being moved to multiple teams.
Laughton has been the most consistent and has become an extremely valuable piece to this Flyers organization. With the backing of Tortorella, Laughton has been put into situations this season where he was never put in before. Laughton is almost certain to set highs in goals, assists, and points this season. He has been one of the best players on the team and has taken the giant leap forward that everyone has been waiting for.
While more fans are starting to get behind Laughton, it is time to show him our full support. When a player can penalty kill and play on the power play and do both effectively, it makes that player extremely valuable. Not to mention Laughton calls Philadelphia home and gives back to the community as much as he can.
If Laughton becomes the next captain of this franchise, don’t be surprised. While he was the dark horse candidate, it seems like he has become Tortorella’s go-to guy and ultimately the voice and play of what it means to be a Flyer.