Flyers options if Scott Laughton is traded

Scott Laughton's name continues to show up in trade rumors. Who do the Flyers have to replace him if he is indeed traded this summer?
Philadelphia Flyers v Columbus Blue Jackets
Philadelphia Flyers v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier have been around Philadelphia for so long that it is hard to imagine a Flyers team without them. Kind of like the Eagles without Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce. Weird, huh? But that's how sports teams go. A few years ago, it would've been hard to imagine the Flyers without Claude Giroux, and yet here we are two years later.

Over the last year or two, there have been several rumors about Laughton's fate here in Philly. Maybe there was some truth to them. After all, where there is smoke there is fire. So far, he hasn't been traded anywhere. However, that doesn't mean that speculators aren't going to speculate. Maybe Ottawa or maybe Boston. Perhaps other teams want him. If he's traded, we'll find out. If not, he'll suit up in orange and black as always.

Either way, there will be a day when Laughton won't be suiting up. Whether it is by trade, release, free agency, or retirement, Laughton will be gone. And much like the Eagles without Kelce and Cox, the Flyers, and Daniel Briere in particular, should be thinking ahead. When Laughton is gone, who will take his spot in the lineup? If the Flyers and Laughton part ways this offseason, who can and will replace him at center?

Who could replace Scott Laughton if the Flyers trade him this offseason?

Laughton has never been a big-time scorer. In his 11-year career, the closest he's come to 20 goals was when he scored 18 in the 2022-23 season. His two best offensive years, statistically speaking, have been his last two seasons. They've also been among his healthiest.

Instead, Laughton's value has come from some of the other things he does. He is decent in the faceoff circle with a career total of just under 50%. He battles in the corner and sets up plays fairly well. To be honest with you, he is a much better defensive forward than he gets credit for and, under the right circumstances, could earn some Selke Trophy nominations. That's where his true value comes in.

So, if he is gone, who can replace him? Let's look at internal options first. As of right now, the Flyers have a top-six center in Couturier. If Noah Cates can return to his 2022-23 form after a year of injuries and setbacks, he could easily fit that bill. Ryan Poehling, who the Flyers committed themselves to earlier this year, could and should be given that opportunity as well. Barring a trade, there is always Morgan Frost. If he can finally become the center he was drafted to be, that could help this team out a lot.

As of right now, there is nobody at the AHL level who could jump in yet. Denver Barkey could get some looks at development camp this offseason, but he is probably a few years away from contributing. I suppose Rodrigo Abols, a recent signing, could be given a shot too during training camp.

The Flyers could add a center in free agency. Depending on how much salary is taken for Laughton, that could free up some badly needed cap space. The top-tier centers are Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel, and Sam Reinhart. All would be great additions, but they would be expensive. Other quality centers could include Adam Henrique, Teuvo Teravanien, Martin Necas, Jonathan Marchessault, and Elias Lindholm. Again, good centers don't come cheap.

There is also the draft. Quite a few centers have been mocked to the Flyers. It is possible that one of them could be NHL-ready this year. Most likely, the Flyers will have to wait a year or so before such a player is ready.

For right now, we'll have to sit and wait. Maybe there is truth to these rumors. Maybe it is all speculation. Perhaps the Flyers get someone in a trade. Maybe all of this comes to nothing. Stay tuned.