VOORHEES, N.J. – Scott Laughton, the Flyers’ 2012 first-round draft pick, has one very simple objective this year.
“I want to make the team,” he said. “That’s my main goal. I hope I can accomplish that, and to be successful in that, I just need to get in shape and work on my game offensively, and just focus on my game away from the puck and stuff like that.”
Laughton, a center chosen with the 20th-overall pick last year, returned to Philadelphia last week to take part in the Flyers’ prospect development camp. It was the second time the 19-year-old attended the five-day program, led by the team’s director of player development, Ian Laperriere.
The two camps, however, are far from the only experience Laughton has with the Flyers. He spent five games with the team during the abbreviated 2013 season, making the roster right out of training camp. He was sent back to his OHL team, the Oshawa Generals, only because a year would have been burned off of his entry-level contract with the Flyers had he played more than five games at the NHL level.
Laughton did very well during the time he spent with the Flyers. He didn’t register any goals or assists, but averaged 11:31 on the ice. At the time, general manager Paul Holmgren acknowledged the decision to send Laughton back to Oshawa was a tough one.
“It was difficult – he played very well,” Holmgren said at the time. “We thought it was in the best interests of the Flyers and of Scott [to send him back to Oshawa]. He needs to play and he needs to play in all situations.”
Laughton excelled after returning to the Generals, scoring 23 goals and adding 33 assists in 49 games. The only teammate with more points was Boone Jenner, who played seven more games. With the Adirondack Phantoms, whom he spent time with when Oshawa's season ended, he registered a goal and two assists in six games.
Despite his success, though, the cards are stacked against Laughton this year. Danny Briere’s contract was bought out, but the Flyers still remain very deep at center. The team’s top three centers are basically already set – and training camp is still two months away.
Simply put, there’s a lot of competition.
“Yeah, there is,” Laughton said. “They made the team better for sure with adding Vinny [Lecavalier] and those guys. Competition is good. That’s what they’re here to do. I’m just going to learn from them at camp and try to stay.”
Laughton has already put on 14 pounds since the end of last season, which he spent with the Phantoms. He’s spending the month of July locally to work out with the Flyers’ training staff. In August, he’ll attend both World Junior camp and Oshawa Generals camp, before returning to Philadelphia for Flyers training camp in September.
When he does return, he said, his aim is to be in condition to compete for that NHL-level job.
“Just trying to stay lean,” he said, “and hopefully come back in tip-top shape and be ready for camp.”