The Philadelphia Flyers’ firesale continues, but this time trade rumors have started to swirl around veteran forward Scott Laughton.
Before puck drop on Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported on the broadcast that Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton was a popular name this week at the NHL combine. Friedman added that Daniel Briere and the Flyers would likely prefer to keep Laughton around as a mentor for their up-and-coming group of players, but would also feel obligated to sell on the 29 year old if the right offer is made to them.
Scott Laughton is an attractive piece to teams for a variety of reasons. Chief among those is Laughton’s versatility as a player – he’s played all three forward positions for the Philadelphia Flyers. In addition, Laughton has term on his contract. He’s entering the third year of the five-year, $15 million contract he signed prior to the 2021-2022 season. Anthony Di Marco of The Fourth Period added that the Flyers have already rejected late first-round picks in offers for Laughton, which suggests that the Flyers are looking to move up further into the first round, even without a second-round pick.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ new President of Hockey Operations Kyle Dubas has an interesting challenge that lies ahead of him. The Penguins still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Jake Guentzel, but the Penguins’ star trio is closer to the end of their careers than the beginning, and Guentzel is one year from unrestricted free agency. Ideally, Dubas keeps the Penguins in playoff contention whilst building towards the future, something ex-GM Ron Hextall didn’t come close to achieving. After all, the Penguins would have taken the Florida Panthers’ playoff spot had they not sensationally choked against two of the very worst teams in the entire NHL in their last two games of the year. That’s not something a guy like Sidney Crosby would forget about heading into next season.
With the 14th overall pick, the Philadelphia Flyers vault into pole position to draft a slider, like Zach Benson, or another lower-end top-tier talent, to compliment their choice at pick seven. Scott Laughton is a great player, but he’s no superstar either. Using Laughton to move up eight spots in a draft like this is a small price to pay for a potential game-changer. On the flip side, Kyle Dubas gets a versatile veteran forward at a team-friendly price without compromising the Pittsburgh Penguins’ future. They desperately need to start preparing for life after Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.