Laughton wants to finish what he started with Flyers

Scott Laughton

       VOORHEES, N.J. — By now, it’s become such old hat, Scott Laughton almost has to stifle a yawn.

      In recent years, not a trade deadline has approached where the Flyers veteran center hasn’t been the subject of trade rumors.

      So why should March 8, 2024 be any different?

      While Laughton’s goal production is down – just nine in 60 games  after registering a career-high 18 last season – the 29-year-old Ontario native has elevated his overall game.

      He’s a big reason why the Flyers’ penalty-kill unit ranks second in the NHL, just a tick behind league-leading Los Angeles at 86.1 percent.

      After Friday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center, Laughton admitted he’s a little tired of answering the same questions over and over again.

      No doubt some serious Stanley Cup contender would love to get its hands on Laughton and the Flyers probably would oblige, but only if the payback is an offer they can’t refuse.

      “Yeah, I’ve discussed it quite a bit,” said Laughton with a tone of exasperation in his voice. “Everyone knows that I want to be here, be part of it. It’s a business, though, so whatever happens, happens.”

      Laughton has made up for the dip in his offensive production by not only killing penalties but helping the Flyers lead the NHL in shorthanded goals with 14.

      His seven shorthanded points are tied with the New York Islanders’ Simon Holmstrom for the NHL lead. And over the past two seasons, Laughton remains the outright leader in that department.

      “I’m comfortable here,” he reiterated. “The objective is to make the playoffs and make a push.”

      The entire team knows what Laughton brings to the table, which is why he served as the only official leader on the ice (wearing an “A” for alternate captain) for the past two seasons until Sean Couturier was recently handed the coveted “C” for captain.

      Coach John Tortorella also has tried to get Laughton on the ice in the late stages of close games because he’s such a good defender.

      “I think you’re always confident in your own game,” Laughton said. “And what you bring to the team. I think I try to be consistent every night.

      “So we’ll see what happens here. I know my role and I know what’s expected out of me.”

      Couturier is No. 1 on the Flyers in terms of career service time with the Flyers and Laughton is second. No one else is even close.

      Tortorella actually has been jockeying the two players back and forth of late, relegating each to fourth line center at times. Couturier has been slumping and Laughton had a career-high seven-game point streak goi.

      The major thing, however, is the way Laughton is excelling at both ends of the ice, including that blue chip penalty kill.

      “That’s a big part of the game,” Tortorella said. “Special teams, faceoffs, protecting a lead. It’s the way he plays. I just think ‘Laughts’ is playing better now. I don’t hide from it. There’s nothing I’m trying to brush over. I hope there’s a competition there (between Laughton and Couturier) quite honestly. Then we’re a better team.”

      It’s no secret Laughton would like to see the Flyers make a deep playoff run after missing postseason play the past three years.

      “The last three years since the (Toronto) bubble (for the playoffs due to the pandemic) haven’t been great,” Laughton remarked. “We’ve had a lot of changes but there are a lot of the same guys here who have had the bad times and the good times. So, we have to stay focused here and make a push.”

 


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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.