With Flyers back in contention, Laughton deserves to stay

Scott Laughton

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Not a year goes by in which Scott Laughton isn’t the subject of trade rumors.

So why should this year be any different?

As the March 8 NHL trade deadline approaches, this year’s static level is starting to buzz again. Even though Laughton was retained as an alternate captain after Sean Couturier was officially named captain on Wednesday, the speculation remains in place.

The 29-year-old Laughton plays with such high intensity, he’s an attractive target for any team with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations.

He’s been with the Flyers for a decade so it’s safe to say he would like to stay here. Yet just like any other professional sport, ice hockey is a business and the Flyers, in the midst of a pronounced rebuild, are entertaining offers for just about anyone on their roster.

All a player can do is go about his business and hope things remain status quo.

In Laughton’s case, he deserves to stay. He’s played with heart and soul for years and with his team challenging for respectability, he should have an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“It’s kind of business as usual,” Laughton said. “Obviously the rumors are out there. Guys deal with it every year. You deal with it the best you can. You try to win more games and be a part of this.

“I think we’re trending in the right direction. And I think you want to be a part of it.”

After this season, Laughton has two years remaining on his contract which will pay him $3 million each season. For what he brings to the Flyers, he’s probably a bargain, so salary really isn’t an issue.

Laughton said nearly everyone in the Flyers’ locker room was blindsided by the change in the leadership structure. Since coach John Tortorella had begun work in the fall of 2022, Laughton’s “A” was the only letter appearing on a Flyer jersey.

“I don’t think anyone saw it coming,” Laughton said. “I don’t know if ‘Coots’ (Couturier) saw it coming. But it’s awesome for him. It’s very well deserved. He’s a great leader for the young guys to see how to play, be a professional on and off the ice. He’s been here so long. He’s done it the right way to play. I’m very happy for him.”

Laughton also likes the promotion of Travis Konecny to fellow alternate captain. Several players have mentioned Konecny has been the team’s best player over the past two seasons. He’s become more of a complete player and this season has done a better job of knowing when to pick his spots in the instigation department.

“It’s well deserved for him, the way he plays,” Laughton pointed out. “The way he brings guys into the fight is awesome.

“We all knew Coots and TK were leaders on this team. It’s nice to have a captain I think. It’s kind of nice to have this leadership to lean on in different situations. It’s not so much on the ice, really, it’s off the ice. . .in certain situations like that, it’s great.”

The interest in the leadership group stems from the Flyers’ turnaround this season. It goes without saying the return of Couturier and Cam Atkinson after back surgeries, along with the addition of veterans such as Garnet Hathaway, Marc Staal, Ryan Poehling and Sean Walker have made a big difference.

It’s just made the locker room a much more stable situation than it was last year.

“I think it’s just some of the guys who bought in and some of the youth we have,” Laughton said. “They’ve really bought into the system. Around the room we’re a pretty close team. You know the guy next to you is going to work for you, block shots and do things that you expect out of them. It’s been great so far.”

With the exception of the pandemic-affected 2020 season, which saw the Flyers finally win a playoff series, the team hasn’t experienced too much success during Laughton’s tenure. So it would be nice for a guy like him if the Flyers were to win a postseason series or two.

But first let’s see where things stand on March 8.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.