It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years already; at this point, Scott Laughton has always seemed like he’s been here. He was selected 20th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft and began playing a year later at the NHL level; first as a call up in 2012-13 for five games, and then as a regular. He’s never been a stellar player, but yet he has been one of the central players for the Philadelphia Flyers for almost a decade.
Laughton is not a grind-it-out, lamp-lighting forward. However, the 2022-23 season was his best season statistically. He scored more than 15 goals (18) for the first time in his career and finally broke the 40-point plateau (43) for the first time. His 25 assists were a career-high, and it was also the second time in his career that he had 20 or more assists.
This career year came during a season where the Flyers struggled across the board. Yet, Laughton, and a few others, such as Travis Konecny, had some of their best statistical seasons. Laughton also missed a handful of with injuries last season as well.
Something clicked with him last year. He earned the respect of new head coach John Tortorella. On a team without a captain, Laughton was, and still is, the only player on the team to be wearing an “A” on his sweater with Sean Couturier out of commission. That signifies that Tortorella sees something in him, and that is of great value.
Laughton’s importance to this team can’t be measured by stats or analytics. As a first-round player, it’s tempting to say he’s a little bit of a disappointment. He’ll never have his number retired or be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. However, he’s far from being a bust. He is a steadying influence when things seem chaotic. He’s someone to look up to when things get rough.
More than that, he is a hard worker. Laughton is never a guy who leaves a game after the third period and only gave 70 or 80 percent of what he had to give. He leaves everything he’s got out there on the ice. He’s also signed on for two more years at $3 million a season. That is stupendously cheap for what he brings to the table.
Trading him away might be tempting. Because of his price tag and talent, the Flyers could get a respectable return for him. However, after this summer’s events, that might not happen any time soon. He’s a good defensive forward and serves as an influencer to someone like Noah Cates, especially in the absence of Couturier.
Laughton’s value to this team is find in his leadership and work ethic. Watch him to build on last year’s season. If that is true, that will help the Flyers in countless ways. At 29 years old, he’s in the prime of his career still going strong, and it looks like his best is still yet to come.