The Flyers announced that they have sent 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton back to Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League. He was a healthy-scratch for last night's season-opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. To replace Laughton, the team has recalled forward Kris Newbury.
Laughton, 19, played in five games for the Flyers last season without registering any points before the Flyers “slid” his entry-level contract so they would not burn a year. The 20th overall pick in 2012 went on to have a strong season with the Oshawa Generals.
Now he is back and looking to give the Flyers no reason to slide him back to Oshawa. General manager Paul Holmgren said that Laughton was the prospect with the best chance to make the team out of camp.
There were a few things the Flyers needed to address when deciding on Laughton. What is best to do for the Flyers as a team? Laughton is a natural center but up the middle the Flyers have Claude Giroux, Vinny Lecavalier, Sean Couturier, and Adam Hall with natural-centers Max Talbot and Brayden Schenn on the wings. Not much room for Laughton there so do the Flyers move him to a wing spot?
Another topic that needed to be addressed is Laughton's development as a player. If Laughton stayed with the team, he was not going to be seeing first or second-line minutes. Would it be more beneficial for him to be on the NHL roster playing limited minutes compared to playing top-line minutes in juniors? In the same breath, the clock would start ticking on Laughton's entry-level contract that has a reasonable $1.1 million cap hit so that certainly had to play a factor.
He is a gritty, two-way center who showed flashes of promise in his cup-of-tea with the Flyers. Laughton is a defensive-minded center who could make his initial impact in the NHL in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill (sounds a lot like Sean Couturier, right?). Right now, they think he needs more time to develop but I'm excited about his potential.
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