Signed to a two-year contract extension ($2.3 million average annual value) by the Flyers on July 11, 2019, 25-year-old forward Scott Laughton has provided excellent value to the team in the first year of the deal. Despite missing 20 games due to injury (fractured finger in late October, groin issue in mid-December), Laughton has had his best all-around season season.
First and foremost, Laughton is valuable for his versatility in moving as needed between left wing and center. He's played on the third, fourth, and even the second line (left wing) as needed. Laughton has provided tenacious forechecking and backchecking work and is mainstay on the team's greatly improved penalty kill.
Offensively, Laughton has already established a new single-season career high with 13 goals despite the time lost due to injuries and the NHL's schedule pause. He is within five points of tying his career-high in points (32) set last season, when he was able to dress in all 82 games.
Laughton also has intangible value to the team. He gets under opponents' skin as one of the resident chirpers, and helps keep teammates focused on the ice while setting an example with his work ethic.
FIVE KEY FACTS
1) Laughton has averaged 14:36 of ice time per game this season, including 1:42 of penalty killing time (third among Flyers forward behind only Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes).
2) Laughton's 0.55 points per game is tops among Flyers forwards who primarily play in the bottom-six of the rotation at five-on-five. Additionally, his 2.51 points per 60 minutes of ice time leads all Flyers players who have dressed in 10 or more games this season.
3) Laughton ranks second among all Flyers forwards with 109 credited hits this season and is third in hits per 60 minutes among Flyers forwards who have dressed in at least 20 games this season.
4) With a 53.9 percent success rate on faceoffs, Laughton ranks third on the team, trailing Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. He has outstanding on penalty kill draws, especially in the left circle. Overall, Laughton has won 62.5 percent of his faceoffs on the PK; tops on the team.
5) Over the last 26 games prior to the league pause, Laughton posted 17 points (8g, 9a) to tie with Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk for fifth on the team in that span.
Video: OTT@PHI: Laughton answers quickly to reclaim lead
1) Dec. 7 vs OTT (15:11, 3rd pd): A prime illustration of Laughton's value to the Flyers. He scored the game winning goal late in an emotionally intense 4-3 win over Ottawa at the Wells Fargo Center. Laughton then chirped the Ottawa bench, enraging Brady Tkachuk, who subsequently took a cross-checking double minor in trying to go after Laughton; thereby helping the Flyers seal a one-goal victory.
Video: PHI@PIT: Laughton taps puck past Jarry
2) Jan. 31 @ PIT (2:20, 3rd pd): In the first game after the NHL All-Star break and the Flyers' bye week, the team trailed the host Penguins, 3-1, in the second period. A goal by Pitlick late in the frame drew Philly back within a goal. Early in the third period, a deflection goal credited to Laughton, even the score at 3-3. The Flyers went on to earn three of four possible points in their home-and-home set with the Penguins.
Video: WPG@PHI: Laughton picks the corner on Hellebuyck
Video: WPG@PHI: Laughton buries wrist shot from the circle
3) Feb. 22 vs WPG: Laughton struck for a pair of first period goals (at the 2:06 and 9:03 marks) as the Flyers built an early advantage and went on to beat the Jets, 4-2, in a Saturday matinee at the Wells Fargo Center. The game marked the start of a scorching hot stretch in which Laughton racked up nine points (3g, 6a) over the course of five games.
THEY SAID IT
"He brings a north-south game and he's tough to play against as an opponent. Laughts is fun to play with, and I don't think he gets as much credit as he deserves for his offensive game."
Kevin Hayes, March 5, 2020.
HE SAID IT
"No matter what profession you are in, you've got to work hard as you can and try to get better every day. That's what I try to do. "
Scott Laughton, Sept. 24, 2019.