Laught or not? The clock is ticking for Scott Laughton >

by Timothy March

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 -

The time is rapidly approaching for Flyers head brass to make a decision regarding center Scott Laughton and his career. Send him back to juniors, or keep him with the big club for the remainder of the season? This is the decision that faces GM Paul Holmgren come Saturday. Let's take a gander into the mind of Homer and weigh the pros and cons of keeping the 18-year-old with the Flyers.

The positives:

Laughton has shown flashes of offensive and defensive brilliance. Keeping him with the Flyers will help him gain valuable experience that he cannot get in the OHL. Peter Laviolette has already given his vote of confidence to the young Oakville, Ontario native. 

"I thought he did a nice job out there, System-wise, he seemed to understand. He's a smart kid . . . a smart two-way player." -Laviolette

Scott certainly has not looked out of place centering the third line. He registered 3 out of his first 4 hits in the NHL on his very first shift. Playing against the rival Penguins, this is a good way to endear yourself to the Philly faithful.

One play in particular stands out to me. In the Buffalo game, Laughton dug the puck off the wall, dangled into the slot, and fired a wrister labeled for the top shelf. If not for the quick glove hand of Buffalo's Ryan Miller, Laughton would have been celebrating his first NHL goal. Flashes of offensive brilliance is something the Flyers are seriously lacking at this juncture in the season. 

Scott certainly isn't a liability defensively either. He looks comfortable out there at both ends of the ice. If anything will keep the young center here in Philadelphia, it is his willingness to get into the dirty areas and grind teams down in the offensive zone. 

The negatives:

Keeping Laughton in Philadelphia instead of sending him back to the Oshawa Generals after 5 games will burn the first of his three year entry level deal. Does Paul Holmgren really want to burn an entire contract year on a shortened 48 game season? 

Enter Danny Briere.

It is looking like the 35-year-old is set to return to the lineup on Saturday, just in time for Laughton's fifth game in the NHL. 

Another negative, and I think the biggest factor holding Laughton back, is the fact that this team has entirely too many third line, role playing, defensive minded players. The Flyers are seriously lacking any scoring depth thus far in the young NHL season. Players like Simmonds, Talbot, Fedontenko, and even Scott Hartnell are role players that will hold the fiery Laughton from staying in the NHL past the 5 game mark.

The Flyers have more question marks than the Riddler's suit. Chances are that this will be a campaign full of growing pains for the orange and black. The big decision Paul Holmgren will have to make is, will the gained experience outweigh the negatives of burning an entire year of Scott's entry level deal? Something the Flyers have already done with another young center in Sean Couturier. 

For a judgement like this, it is always good to consult the all knowing, all seeing device of our childhood. 

"Will Scott Laughton remain with the big club past the 5 game mark?"

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