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 already knows about Laughton’s plans and admits that they are realistic. Holmgren said that Laughton is the prospect with the best chance to make the team out of camp.
There are a few things the Flyers must 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? Or, even more interesting, do they cut Adam Hall in favor of Laughton?
Another topic that needs to be addressed is Laughton's development as a player. If Laughton makes the team, he is not going to be seeing first or second-line minutes. Would it be 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 will certainly play a factor.
The Flyers seem to be stacked at the center position but I would love if they were able to find a spot on the team for Laughton. 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, he’s on the bubble to make the team but don’t be surprised to see him in Philadelphia at the start of the season, even if it is for a nine-game tryout before letting his contract slide again.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports