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Prospect Primers: Scott Laughton

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“I was going to thank the city of Pittsburgh for their warm welcome, but…the Philadelphia Flyers are proud to select, from Oshawa of the Canadian Hockey League, Scott Laughton.”

These were the words of Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren after he received countless boos from the Pittsburgh Penguins fanbase while approaching the podium during the 2012 NHL Draft.

The young Laughton has already gotten a taste of the nasty rivalry between the two Pennsylvania power houses.

But will the first-rounder get a shot at shutting up the Penguins fans anytime soon?

It will definitely come sooner rather than later.

Laughton’s game is one that catches coaching staff’s eyes. He is one of the hardest-working players to come out of this year’s draft. The kid understands the amount of work required to make it to the next level and is willing to put in that work. One of Laughton’s best qualities as a hockey player is his intelligence. He seems to always be in the right spot and is very positionally sound.

If you asked Laughton who his favorite hockey player is, he would immediately tell you Mike Richards. It makes perfect sense because his playing style is very similar to that of the former Flyers captain. He plays with grit and fights for every inch of the ice. Forechecking is a strong part of his game and he is very effective when doing so.

Laughton can also see the ice very well, making him an excellent passer. While I believe his all-around offensive game could use some work, he still has a terrific wrist shot that is especially effective from the slot. Overall, Laughton fits the mold of a two-way player perfectly. His end to end game is very sound and he is an extremely versatile option for any team.

I had the privilege of watching Laughton up close and personal during this past July’s prospect camp. Being the team’s first-rounder, the spotlight was without a doubt focused on him. What really stood out to me was his qualities as a potential captain of a team. He is a great teammate who truly will defend his own. During one of the scrimmages, 2010 draft pick Tye McGinn suffered a big hit over the middle. Laughton jumped in and dropped the gloves, defending his teammate. Remember, this is in a scrimmage! I truly believe, that over time, he could be captain material in the NHL.

While Laughton certainly impressed me, he also caught the eye of someone much more knowledgeable than me. Former Flyer and current director of player personnel Ian Laperriere was around Laughton a lot during camp and  joined my radio show Broad Street Buzz in August to share his thoughts on the 18-year old.

“My big thing [with Laughton] was attention to detail. He really did that. It shows a lot of maturity for an 18-year old kid to come to camp and be one of the best players,” he said.

As a center, it will be difficult for Laughton to make the Flyers this year. The orange and black currently have a lot of depth at center between Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. However, I do see this kid as an NHL second or third-line center in a few years. With the work ethic he has, there is no reason he won’t make it to the big leagues.

Let’s not forget that he is only 18!


Adam Pfeifer is a contributing writer covering the Philadelphia Flyers for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @Pfeiifey for news regarding the Flyers.

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