Flyers need Scott Laughton to step up in wake of recent injuries

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December hasn’t had the type of cheer, glee, and welcome that the Philadelphia Flyers wanted after their blazing November. This month, the Flyers are 2-2 with their game against the Minnesota Wild scheduled to dictate the pace of their recent success. One player that needs to consistently contribute is Scott Laughton. He’s contributed during the wins this month but has been radio silent during the losses. Heading to Minnesota, Laughton could use that fire put under him from when Brady Tkachuk jumped him.

When Alain Vigneault sets the lineup heading into the game against the Minnesota Wild, Scott Laughton could play as high up as the second line. Michael Raffl isn’t ready to return after breaking his pinky finger. The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t going to be in a hurry to rush Travis Konecny back. In place of these injuries and Oskar Lindblom’s diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma, Laughton will have to mature quickly into his role. Laughton is on the younger side of this team, which should help him mesh with players like David Kase and Mikhail Vorobyev.

In addition to David Kase and Mikhail Vorobyev, Scott Laughton has Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee to play alongside. We’ve watched Alain Vigneault play with the lines until he optimizes the talent. Tinkering will be necessary to give the Philadelphia Flyers match up advantages throughout their four forward lines. Farabee has proven that players who have developed with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms can be called upon to produce at the NHL level with their Flyers teammates. Of the current Philadelphia players who are healthy, Laughton is ranked tenth in scoring.

With the extra shifts and minutes available for Scott Laughton, he’ll have an opportunity to prove that he is more than a ceiling third-line forward. That is the label that he has received while on the Philadelphia Flyers. When you look at his progression from season to season, Laughton has always come back and finished better than before. Last season was his best, scoring 32 points. That alone is a +12 progression from 2017-2018.

Previously, Scott Laughton played for the Oshawa Generals with none other than current Philadelphia Flyers teammate, Andy Andreoff. This sort of situation was what caught the eye of the Flyers scouts upon drafting Laughton in 2012. While playing for the Generals, the second-round pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boone Jenner, was injured. Offensively, Laughton took off and landed on Philadelphia’s radar with 41 points in 39 games.

One area that the Philadelphia Flyers need Scott Laughton to step up at with Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom out is in the powerplay. This season, Laughton has nine points, which breaks down to four goals and five assists. All of those points have taken place during even-strength hockey. The special teams are going to take a hit with clear firepower missing. His tentative linemates are Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee on the second line.

The mantra of an athlete is always “next man up.” That is where the Philadelphia Flyers are. Scott Laughton is a smart player who plays surprisingly physical. He is a cog in Alain Vigneault’s system, but an important piece of the puzzle. For the Flyers to be in full gear, it’s time for Laughton to break out.