Drafted 20th Overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Scott Laughton has made great strides improving his game this year, and this has led to a corresponding rise up the draft boards for the young Centre from the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Laughton started the year as a checking line centre for Team Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Laughton would show the promise of the great offensive improvement that would come this season by scoring the Gold Medal winning goal for the Canadians. Laughton would return to Oshawa where he would gain the confidence of his coaches and see his ice time rise dramatically as the season progressed. He would bookend the season by again wearing the Red and White Maple Leaf of Team Canada, and being a key contributor to helping the team to a bronze medal at the 2012 IIHF Under 18 World Championship.
Born May 30 1994 — Oakville, ONT
Height 6.00 — Weight 170 — Shoots Left
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Expectations have been high for Laughton, as he was the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 OHL draft behind only Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gaunce. However with the 2010-11 Generals featuring tons of offence from players like Christian Thomas, Andre Andreoff, Nicklas Jensen, Boone Jenner, Alain Berger, and Lucas Lessio, the top 6 in Oshawa was set. As a result Laughton was used in primarily a shutdown role as a rookie. It was a role in which he would thrive.
Laughton has developped into an excellent checking centre. He is willing to do whatever it takes to excel in the role, whether it be blocking shots, intercepting passes, making hits, or being an irritating pest to the opposition’s best players. He is an extremely hard working player in all three zones, and always willing to battle along the boards or in front of the net. Laughton has developped top notch faceoff skills and this has made him a key member of the Generals penalty kill. Laughton shows a ton of will to win, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to make that happen, including being willing to drop the gloves with a bigger opponent when necessary.
Laughton’s offence started slowly again this season, however a change in the lineup that saw him move into the top 6 and centre a line with Thomas and Andreoff really kickstarted his game. He really started putting up offensive numbers about a third of the way into the season, and never looked back. Laughton was a key contributor offensively in the Under 18 tournament as well, showing that his offensive success was not just due to his older, more experienced linemates.
Laughton has outstanding hockey sense. He sees the ice very well and has an uncanny ability to find a free piece of ice and get himself open. He has a hard and accurate wrist shot and a good release. As a playmaker, Laughton possesses good vision and passing skills. He uses his grit and desire to win board battles and to control the puck down low on the cycle game. The main area that may hold Laughton back from being a top line player at the next level is that he is not a very good stickhandler. He’s much more of a straight ahead, north/south type player than one who will dangle his way through opposing defences.
Laughton could also stand to improve his skating. He needs work on his first step, and his acceleration. He could also use work on his stride and top end speed. These have all improved this past season however, and we’d currently say they are all average to slightly above. With continued hard work, it shouldn’t be too big an issue going forward. Laughton does however possess good balance and agility. He’s strong on his skates and tough to knock off the puck when he’s working the cycle game.
If Laughton can continue to refine his game, especially offensively, we could see him develop into a player similar to Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings. However, even if he doesn’t reach such a lofty status, Laughton’s work ethic and will to win, shut down defensive skills, gritty game, and leadership ability will help him to contribute in some form as an NHLer down the road. Laughton is a safe bet, as he’s very likely to make the NHL one day, what needs to be determined is if he can do so in a top 6 role.
… and thats the Last Word.