VOORHEES, N.J. – Claude Giroux knows how Scott Laughton feels. Since the two are close, Giroux said he will text Laughton to check in on him.
And when he does, he promises to offer some good advice, something he learned when he was a young, up-and-coming prospect like Laughton.
After all, Giroux had a similar path to Laughton.
He played two games for the Flyers during his final junior season with Gatineau of the QMJHL and then, when he thought he was going to make the team in camp the next season, he was shipped to the Phantoms, where he cut his professional hockey teeth.
“I remember when I played those two games and then went back to my junior team,” Giroux said. “You realize the game is so fast. It’s another level. It’s not even comparable. You go back, and the game slows down. You learn a lot in just two games. [This] will be good for him.
“Obviously you want to play in the NHL because that’s your dream but then you [get sent] down. But now that I look at it, that was the best thing for me. John Paddock was my coach. I learned a lot with him and I was playing 25 minutes a game. When you play a lot like that - and in the AHL which is a great league – you play against older players and you just learn a lot. It was great for me.”
|Giroux said he benefitted greatly from a half season with the Phantoms under then-coach John Paddock. |
Granted, Laughton isn’t headed to the Phantoms and is instead going back to juniors, but the message is the same – continue to grow; continue to develop.
Giroux, 25, wasn’t called up to the NHL for good until he was 21, so Laughton has a couple years yet, and if he makes it to the show sooner, all the better.
“This was something we talked about for almost two weeks,” said General Manager Paul Holmgren. “Scott’s a good kid. We like him and think he has a bright future with the Flyers, but at the end of the day we thought it was in the best interest of Scott and the Flyers to loan him back to his junior team where he can play a more expanded role and continue to develop.”
And it’s very likely he will. Laughton will be asked to carry a pretty big load for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL and as such will get the opportunity to play the big minutes Giroux was talking about.
With that experience will come the growth needed to make it to the next level, and if you ask Giroux, he’ll tell you the expectations throughout the entire organization are pretty high concerning Laughton.
“I think he’s going to have a good year,” Giroux said. “He’s going to be a great player. There’s no dobut. This will be good for him.”
In the meantime, the Flyers recalled Kris Newbury from the Phantoms to take Laughton’s spot on the NHL roster.
“Kris can play center or wing and he can be a real energy guy like Adam [Hall],” Holmgren said. “If you’ve ever seen him play in the AHL, he’s a good player [there]. Whenever he comes up to the NHL, he’s just a plugger, role player who’s willing to mix it up and be an energy guy but he’s a good player who we think can fill a role for us.
“We felt we needed another penalty killer, fourth line guy… that’s what we were looking at.”
And Newbury, 31, knows what that role is in the NHL, and understands that it’s different than when he’s in the AHL.
“I’m pretty sure they’re going to want some energy out of me, for me to finish my checks and be good in my own zone,” Newbury said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that.
“It’d be nice to bang a couple [goals] in, but I don’t think they brought me here to ramp it up and put points on the board, but anything I can do to chip in will help the hockey team tremendously.”
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