When Scott Laughton took the ice at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone Thursday afternoon, he did so as a Development Camp veteran who is ready to take the reigns and lead the way over the course of the next six days.
With two Development Camp appearances already under his belt, the forward knows this camp gives prospects a glimpse of what it takes to play at the NHL level. In turn, this knowledge allows him to act as a mentor for the younger players who are getting their first tastes of Flyers hockey.
“This is my third one so, [I'm] just trying to help the younger guys,” said Laughton following the first skate. “It’s nerve-racking coming into your first camp and you’re new to the organization. I’m kind of new here too because we’ve got new player development and things like that. It’s all new, so everyone’s got a fresh start and looking forward to this week.”
Acting as a leader or mentor figure is not something new to the Oakville, Ontario native. He has demonstrated his maturity as a player and as a leader on and off the ice time and time again.
Earlier this year, the 6-foot-1 forward captained Team Canada at the IIHF World Juniors. His major role on that team helped further refine his leadership skills, which he has been building over the past few years with the Oshawa Generals.
“I loved it back in Oshawa, and I thought I took it the best way I could,” said the center. “I tried to get better every day, tried to help the younger guys, like I [once] was, in the league. The biggest thing was just getting better every day.”
Laughton worked to take his offensive game to a new level in the OHL this past season, and in turn, became a stronger, more powerful player. His growth is something that did not go unnoticed this afternoon.
Throughout the entirety of Day One’s skate, the forward took the time to demonstrate multiple drills for the group, showing his bigger role within this year’s camp. His matured skill set allows him to assist many of the other prospects.
“It was pretty simple and not a lot of shooting or anything like that, just kept it simple early on and that was good for a lot of guys coming in off long flights and things like that,” he added. “[It was] just to get the legs under you and get ready.”
While focused on the remainder of Development Camp and absorbing every lesson, Laughton still has his sights set on cracking the Flyers lineup come this fall. Laughton played in five games with the team during the 2012-2013 season, and the feeling of competing at that level is something he wants to experience again.
“It was definitely a dream come true, and that’s where I want to be next year,” said Laughton. “That’s the ultimate goal and there’s no really lying about it. That’s where I want to be, and I just loved it up there. It’s the best league in the world, so hopefully I can make it permanent there.”