The Flyers do a great job of drafting forwards in the second half of the first round. Giroux, Richards, Gagne, Williams were all drafted after the 20th overall pick. There is a lot of skepticism as to why the Flyers didn't go with a defender in the first round but the question has already been answered by the Flyers brass. They pick the best player available. Did the Flyer nation want Olli Maatta? Yes. Do the Flyers think Laughton will be a better pro than Olli? It seems so, and if that's the case, I'm on board.
First off, why not Olli Maatta? Although he is praised for his plus hockey sense, it is his lack of a true second skill that had him slip to 22 in this years draft. He skates at an average to below-average level. He's got average puck skills. He shoots at an average level and his physicality is average. Will it stay this way for his entire career? Of course not, but the lack of a true plus or even above average skill is what had him fall to and past the Flyers.
Here is Cory Pronman's take on Laughton (Pronman writes for puck prospectus and IMO is the best at describing what the prospects bring to the table):
30. Scott Laughton, Center, Oshawa-OHL
Laughton isn't a really flashy forward who I would traditionally project to become a top-six forward in the pro game, but he's a quick, smart effective player with an average skill level who is a "does all the little things" type of guy in the lineup and seems to always be around the play. Laughton's the kind of player who is a great penalty killer and an above-average face off man and can provide some offense while being leaned on for defensive value. He is a quick skater off the line whose top speed is solid and may flash above average. He moves his feet quickly and does well in transition when it comes to his forechecks and backchecks. Laughton is a competitive player who works hard along the boards in puck battles, and despite a frame that needs weight and strength, he doesn't shy away from the rough stuff and can win a decent amount of his one-on-one match-ups. He isn't a null factor offensively as he has some puck skills and will flash solid vision here and there but tends to be a more instinctual player who makes good off-the-puck reads—and while he isn't made in the ideal mold of a puck possession forward—when he's on the ice, there are more shots at the opposing end than there are at his.
*Key notes: "Does all the little things", "above-average face off man", "does well in transition", "there are more shots at the opposing end than there are at his" ---the last one makes me think he's a good Corsi player, although they don't keep those stats for juniors.
MyNHLDraft.comStrengths – Laughton is a good, physical two-way forward who isn’t afraid to play a nasty style of game. He’ll hit you, he’ll fight you, he will outwork you and he’ll never take a shift off. His work ethic and drive in general is outstanding. Simply put, he’s a guy that players hate to play against. He’s a very good player at both ends of the ice. He can produce on the powerplay, play in a shut down role, or kill penalties. He’s very versatile in that regard. While his offensive abilities, and numbers, won’t ‘wow’ you, he does have good vision, a good shot and an above average skill set which should help him produce in the National Hockey League.
Weaknesses – Laughton is a pretty well rounded player, but one aspect of his game that he could work on is his skating ability. His skating isn’t bad, but some more jump and explosiveness in his first three steps would really help his game out.
Career Projection – Second line (#2) center – Taking everything into consideration, Laughton projects to be a solid line two center that can play in any situation. While his skill set is above average, I don’t think he should be relied upon to produce big numbers in a primary scoring role.
Submitted by: Todd Cordell of TheHockeyGuys
*Key notes: "nasty", "never take a shift off", "players hate to play against", "very good skater"
49. LC Scott Laughton – Oshawa (OHL)
DOB: May 30/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 175lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 54Laughton’s OHL career has been full of ebs and flows thus far, but he did manage to finish this season on a positive heading into Pittsburgh. With no shortage of offensive firepower in Oshawa, Laughton’s minutes are not what they would be on other teams and he sees less powerplay time as a secondary option. With that being said, Laughton did show flashes of his offensive upside during the second half of the season while continuing his strong two-way play. Laughton isn’t an overly big player nor is he going to blow you away with speed, but he competes hard and is a strong checker. His style of play is similar to Brendan Gaunce as Laughton looks like a solid prospect capable of playing 3rd line minutes. *Key Notes: He was a secondary option on the PP and wasn't one of their 'scorers' this year. His point totals will be more telling next year when he is relied to score upon.
28. Scott Laughton – C, Oshawa – OHL
Scott’s been projected to go in the later stages of the 1st round for the last 6 months or so, and I feel that that’s where he should go. He had a really good season with Oshawa, recording 53 points in 64 games. Not dynamic numbers by any means, but considering his physical play-style, they’re rock solid.
Scott is a strong skater, with upper-echelon acceleration. He loves to carry the puck up ice, quite often along the boards, and isn’t afraid to shoot from long distances, as he possesses a hard, precise snap shot that he showed off at the U-18s this year. He’s got decent size, and is more than willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice to retrieve the puck. He’s defensively aware, and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. He possesses the leadership and play-style to become a captain in Oshawa, and likely in the NHL one day, too.
Comparable To/Projection: Scott’s game is best compared to Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils. He projects as a top 9 forward down the road, likely top 6 throughout his prime. Laughton will likely be in the 50-60 point range throughout his career. He’ll take a couple years to develop, but once he fills out and learns to facilitate the offense a little better, he’ll be in the NHL.Key Points: "upper-echelon acceleration", "hard, precise snap shot", "likely [a captain] in the NHL one day", "best compared to Adam Henrique", "50-60 point range throughout his career"
After a slow start this season, Scott Laughton, playing mostly on a line with Christian Thomas and Andy Andreoff, finished the campaign strong and is slowly turning into a quality two-way center. After a disappointing rookie season during which he recorded only 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 63 games for the Oshawa Generals, Laughton finally started producing offensively in his sophomore year, just in time to make a name for himself and get the attention of NHL’s scouts in light of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Laughton improved his numbers this season, notching 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points in 64 games while racking 101 penalty minutes and posting a +8 plus/minus rating. Laughton was very good in the playoffs despite his team’s early elimination, producing 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points in 6 games, along with 17 penalty minutes.
While Laughton is not the most talented player of the draft, he is certainly one of the most combative and hard-working players available. Despite a relatively average frame, he plays a determined, physical and smart game while remaining valuable to his team in all situations. Laughton can also chip in offensively often enough to be a threat and garner power play time on the second unit. He is not afraid to block shots or take a big hit to clear the puck from the defensive zone.
While he certainly will never be a point-per-game player in the NHL, Laughton has good-enough offensive skills to produce on a relatively regular basis while neutralizing the opponent’s best line. His shot is underrated as he tends to look too much for the pass, which is often a detriment to his offensive numbers. Laughton is not afraid to drop the gloves or deliver punishing hits in order to wake up his team or change the momentum of a game, but he could play a more disciplined game at times.
The Laughton you see now is pretty much the player you will get in a few years when he is ready to make the jump to the NHL. The two-way pivot needs to improve his skating, strengthen his upper-body and ameliorate his stick-handling as he tends to lose the puck easily.
Finally, the feisty forward could go from being picked 20 overall to being drafted in the middle of the second round.
Key Notes: "good enough offensive skills...while neutralizing the opponent's best line"
THW have scouts give their opinions on the prospects:“A former 3rd overall pick in the 2010 OHL draft, Laughton struggled out of the gate this season as he wrestled for ice time on a deep Oshawa Generals team; even playing out of position at times to start the year. A coaching change followed by a much improved second half vaulted Laughton back onto the draft scene as he plays a character game and is extremely effective in the offensive zone. Laughton is a smart player, although slightly under-sized (he looks small on the ice) he competes hard for loose pucks, can generate and maintain a cycle and has good offensive zone positioning to make a play. Laughton has an under-stated shot and did not exercise it as much as he should have as he preferred to pass. Laughton played well in the Generals opening round playoff loss to Niagara, where he chipped in with points, but more importantly tried to assert himself physically, even engaging in a fight when his team was down 6-0 in game one; further illustrating his character and high compete level. Laughton put an exclamation point on his season as he was one of Team Canada’s better players at the World U18 Championships. He played in a top six rotation and was a favourite of Coach Wallin as he played in all situations and was instrumental in helping Canada win a bronze medal. Laughton needs to get bigger and improve upon his overall explosiveness, however, he possesses many intangibles to be a good player, including superior hockey sense and high character.” - McKeen’s Director of Scouting David Burstyn Twitter account: @DavidBurstyn
Key Notes: "engaging in a fight when his team was down 6-0 in game one [of a playoff series]", "one of Canada's better players at the World U-18's", "superior hockey sense"
“Scott Laughton may be the smartest, most competitive draft-eligible player in Ontario. His compete level, intelligence and hockey sense are without a doubt his best assets. He is the type of player who is willing to do whatever it takes to win, be it block a shot, make a strong back check or drop the gloves. He is extremely strong positionally and he shows an ability to be in the right place at the right time in all three zones. He thinks the game well both with and without the puck, and shows strong two-way play. On the offensive side, he has a strong, accurate shot that he can get off in small spaces. He reads the play well and shows some good overall offensive tools. Area’s to work on are two-fold. First, he needs to continue to develop his offensive game. He reads the ice well and makes intelligent plays, however, I do wonder about his long-term offensive upside. I’m not convinced that he would be able to produce enough offensively to be a top-6 forward at the next level. Improving his individual skills, his puck handling and his ability to make crisper passes in all three zones will help. Also, he has some room to develop his overall mobility and agility. He skates well overall, however, his lateral east to west movement needs more development, along with his first few strides. He struggles with his breakaway speed, and needs to work on his ability to distance himself and break away from opposition defenders. He had a strong finish to the season, specifically at the World Under 18 Championships, where he was one of Canada?s top performers. Overall, Laughton is projected as a smart, two-way centre with the potential to be a leader at the next level. It should be expected to be a late first-round selection, but more-so a high second-round draft pick.” FutureConsiderations’ Sean Lafortune Twitter account: @SeanLafortune
“I think Laughton is one of the more underrated prospects for this upcoming draft. He had a really solid second half of the season, but it was shrouded by the Generals disappointing season. But being one of Canada’s most effective players at the Under 18′s had to have really raised some eyebrows. He’s a pesky guy that I’d compare favorably to Mike Richards. He does pretty much everything well. He’s scrappy and fights for every inch of ice, especially on the forecheck where he’s very effective. He’s a good two-way player and face-off man. He sees the ice well and is an excellent distributor. He has puck skills and can make moves to beat defenders at his top speed. He has a good wrist shot which he can use in the slot or coming down the wing. Laughton is just a very solid player and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a team took him with one of their late first-round picks.” OHL Prospects’ Brock Otten
Key Notes: "excellent distributor", "can make moves to beat defenders at his top speed"
“Scott Laughton is a good, physical two-way forward who isn’t afraid to play a nasty style of game. He’ll hit you, he’ll fight you, he will outwork you and he’ll never take a shift off. His work ethic and drive in general is outstanding. He’s a solid two-way player who can produce on the powerplay and kill penalties. While his offensive abilities, and numbers, won’t ‘wow’ you, he does have good vision and an above average skill set which should help him produce in a secondary role at the next level. He projects to be a good second-line center, or great third-line center in the NHL.” The Hockey Guys’ Todd Cordell Twitter account: @ToddCordell
On being selected to the U-17 Canada Team team: http://www.oshawagenerals.com/video/index/id/7b43d0cfa99e27cdf850dc65f7802a62
HockeyProspect.com 's "Black Book" Review on Laughton: (key points)
Inconsistent and healthy scratch in early part of year, but he 'pulled it together' and had a 'great second half.' Has tendency's to have a huge impact on games but also disappear for some.
Quote: "He drove myself and NHL scouts I spoke to crazy this season. You can love his game one game and hate it the next time your ee him. I thought he turned a corner at the U18 in April. He seemed to grab hold of a role and play the living crap out of it. He showed me a level of play I had not seen in previous viewings"- Mark Edwards
The Black Book also has game reviews:
Nov. 13, 2011 Belleville v. Oshawa: "Used in all game situations. Has a decent shot but missed the net in close a few times. Good hands and skates well down the wing."
Oct. 7, 2011 Oshawa v. Sarnia (Nail Yakupov's team): "Quick accurate shot. Good touch passes. Tenacious penalty killer with high energy on the forecheck. Can stop on a dime and displayed good shiftiness, but doesn't seem to want to show it a lot. Needs to either move to the wing or learn how to take face-off's as he finished the game a brutal 2/18. Solid pass to send Lucas Lessio for a breakaway goal. Didn't really show a ton of game breaking potential, but was consistently reliable."
My Take: In two years we need to sign Claude Giroux, Braydon Schenn, and Sean Couturier. I don't doubt that we'll be able to do so with all three but the interesting thing about Laughton is that he'll be a rookie in most likely three years, meaning he'll be a huge benefit to our salary cap on his ELC for three years. I'm very excited to keep track of this kid and I think that he'll be over a PPG player this year in juniors as it will be his first time being a primary scorer for Oshawa. His low PPG numbers were due to his slow start, but his 41 points in his last 39 games after the coaching change are hopefully a sign of things to come. His great international play looked like it was the cherry on top for him. If anyone finds anything else on the internet about Laughton, post it in the comments. There is lots of skepticism coming with this pick, what do you guys think?