Once again the Flyers are trying to become a consistent hockey team in 2018-19. However, after a 2-3 start to the new season, they have been anything but.
The Penalty Kill remains a work in progress, but the Power Play has to be better. There is a young player that is playing his butt off on the PK and has performed admirably in that role thus far…Scott Laughton. Laughton pressures opponents and uses his speed to his advantage. Moreover, this young man in Laughton is the most improved Flyer in just five games played.
If somebody asked me who's the most improved for the #Flyers in the early going. Well, to me it's definitely Scott Laughton. Kid is tough as nails fighting to stay in yesterday, fast, and is hungry. He seems determined, and its great to see. #LetsGoFlyers
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) October 14, 2018
At age 24, Laughton is seeing an increased role with the orange and black. He is becoming a reliable penalty killer as well as playing on any line Head Coach Dave Hakstol trusts him with. Coming into this season he registered 19 goals, and 28 assists for a total of 47 points in 190 games played.
Hakstol made a great move in his fourth season as Head Coach of the Flyers, by shifting Laughton to the Wing (LW). Moving a natural Centerman in Laughton to the Wing wasn’t the easiest call, but the right call. One would think this line was doomed to fail. However, this has really opened things up for Laughton and his typical linemates of Jori Lehtera, and Michael Raffl. Ironically, Laughton has become faster than we’ve ever seen him before.
With Laughton sometimes forgotten as a reliable Center while donning a Flyers jersey. Laughton has remained mostly positive in his young career, knowing his offensive game would eventually come to fruition. Well, the keys have finally been unlocked to his offensive success, as Laughton has registered 3 goals, 0 assists, and is a plus 1 on this young season. Moreover, this new look fourth line has been pretty consistent in all five games played this season. After Laughton took a nasty hit into the boards during the second period this past Saturday, he showed his toughness by coming back into the game in the third period.
“I’m feeling good,” Laughton said following the game. “We played with a lot more speed than we’ve been playing with through the neutral zone, carrying pucks, making plays, and just didn’t come out on the right side of it tonight. I thought that was one of our quickest games of the year so far.”
The Flyers Penalty kill has been anything but stellar in the early going. Laughton’s aggressiveness helps while being a man down. However, the Flyers are still a work in progress while being short-handed. The good thing is Laughton has been pretty solid on the penalty kill, and it’s rubbing off on his Head Coach. The Flyers finished 3-for-3 on the Afternoon on the penalty kill against the Golden Knights on Saturday.
“We built on what we’ve been doing,” Hakstol said following the game Saturday. “Ottawa, obviously I didn’t like the 3 goals we gave up on the PK, but they’re pretty isolated issues. Tonight we got right back to it in terms of aggressive play up ice. I thought Raffl and Laughton were outstanding creating some of that pressure and the PK did a good job and obviously that last one was a critical kill for us. Under that pressure situation, they didn’t change the way that we were killing. They stayed aggressive on it and got it done.”
Hakstol continued to praise Laughton, “He’s been right from day one of camp a real positive player for us and right now he’s playing hard, he’s playing fast, he’s effective, so it was good to see him come back to the bench and get back with us.”
The ceiling is high for Laughton, and he has been nothing short of phenomenal in the early going. It’s great to see, as it appears he is finally taking the next step in his development. He just seems so confident these days, as opposed to prior year’s. The Flyers get a lot of praise for their patience with Laughton, as it’s paid off in a big way with him being the most improved player in the early going for the orange and black. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer Land.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports