VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took care of one of his restricted free agents on Tuesday by re-signing center Scott Laughton to a two-year deal.
The 23-year-old center played a career-high 71 games in 2015-16, but made only two appearances with the Flyers last season, spending most of the year with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
The multi-year extension is worth $1.925 million for an average annual value of $962,500, according to Dave Isaac of the Courier Post.
Despite what looked like a season of regression on paper, Hextall has been high on Laughton this offseason, praising him for his growth down with the Phantoms.
At Lehigh Valley, Laughton posted 19 goals and 20 assists for a plus-17 rating over 60 games.
"Scotty had a terrific year," Hextall said earlier this month. "He improved a lot, his focus and his professionalism. Quite honestly, I think Scotty really grew up last year. So Scott is certainly going to be given an opportunity to make the hockey club."
Laughton was considered a possible candidate to be exposed in June's expansion draft, but Hextall decided to protect him, clearly showing he still values the 2012 first-round pick, as well as all young assets within the organization.
Laughton faced an uphill battle before the 2016-17 season was even underway when he suffered a knee injury with a week left in the preseason, as he opened the year on long term injured reserve. He didn't play in a hockey game until early November on a conditioning stint with the Phantoms. He saw action in two games with the Flyers later that month.
On top of that, his 2015-16 ended with a scary spill into the boards during Game 4 of the Flyers' first-round playoff series, resulting in Laughton's being stretchered off the ice.
"Big part of the game is mental," Laughton said last November. "It's definitely tough. To end [2015-16] going off on a stretcher, it's definitely not fun. And then coming back, getting hurt and being out for 4½ weeks.
"Yeah, it's definitely tough mentally, but you just push through it and your better for it after."
Laughton will have his work cut out for him in September's training camp. Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom and Mike Vecchione are all viable options to make the team.
The Flyers' remaining restricted free agents left unsigned are Cole Bardreau, Taylor Leier, Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz.