Laughton pleased he’s still a Flyer and so are his teammates

Scott Laughton

      TAMPA – In the final analysis, it came down to this: Scott Laughton is more valuable to the Flyers than any other team in the NHL.

      That might sound a little outrageous, but not when you consider what the Flyers’ alternate captain means to this team. He’s been here for a decade, been through the good times and the bad, knows how to impart his wisdom on other players and holds himself accountable.

      Those kinds of players come along only once or twice in a generation and maybe that’s why general manager Daniel Briere chose not to accept any trade offers on (and before) Friday’s NHL deadline.

      Coach John Tortorella is also breathing a sign of relief. Tortorella knew from the moment he walked in the door in the fall of 2022 that Laughton was made of the right stuff, which is why he gave him an “A” (for alternate captain) and didn’t even bother handing out a “C.”

      “We weren’t looking to move him,” Tortorella stressed prior to Saturday morning’s skate at Amalie Arena. “But you have to listen.

      “What we like about him other teams see. They don’t see the other stuff, as far as how he handles the room, the intangibles of it all, what we’re trying to build here. He’s a big part of that. I know there was interest. But we’re thrilled that he’s still with us.”

      The coach saw things he liked about Laughton right off the bat.

      “I watched how he went about it,” Tortorella said. “How he approached things. Just how he handled himself. That’s what kind of led me to going that way with him.”

      Laughton revealed he kind of knew the Flyers weren’t going to part ways with him but acknowledged it was a bit of a relief anyway when 3 o’clock rolled around and his cell phone hadn’t lit up.

      “Obviously I’ve been here for a long time,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in being a Flyer and being a part of this. You hear all the rumors, I’ve heard them for awhile now. But I’ve had conversations with (GM) Daniel (Briere) and (president of hockey operations Keith) Jones throughout the year. They’ve let know me where they’re at with it. It’s a special place to be.”

      It would have been a shame if Laughton didn’t get a chance to see this season through, especially after enduring three seasons with no postseason action.

      “The things that they’re growing here, not only from the players but from up top, it’s special,” Laughton said. “I’m very grateful.”

      Told of positive comments made by Tortorella about him, Laughton acknowledged those with a nod.

      “It’s nice to hear that from people,” Laughton said. “You treat people with respect and try to be a consistent guy in the room.”

      Those final moments before the deadline can still be a little tense, especially if some serious contending team is making some attractive offers.

      “You still hear it (trade rumors) in the background and on TV,” Laughton said. “I watched it a little bit. I was pretty confident I was going to stay here just from things I had talked to different people about. But anything can happen, so you’re still nervous.”

      Laughton is so popular among the players that some were going up to Briere and asking him not to trade No. 21 away.

      “It’s pretty amazing,” Laughton said. “We have a really tight group here. I don’t know how to describe the feeling but it means a lot to me. Some of the stuff we’ve gone through the last couple years – the guys really pull for each other. It (the praise) goes a long way.”

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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.