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Teams would ‘throw themselves’ at Laughton, if available

Elliotte Friedman had loads to say about Philadelphia’s trade deadline situation.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the most interesting teams as the hockey world crawls towards the NHL trade deadline. With some level of disappointment in every position, they have fallen on hard times and it would take a miracle to rescue the season from where they are in the standings. Any other team would likely try and kickstart a rebuild, asset managing their way to some extra draft picks, but with the established core and expectations beyond the current standings, it’s a wishy-washy kind of deadline for Philadelphia.

On Friday’s 31 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went deep into the Flyers problem and what they can potentially do at the deadline. One name that keeps on coming up is pending free agent and known entity forward Scott Laughton.

“I think they’ve tried to sign him. I think it’s possible, last year, when they were talking to Winnipeg about [Patrik] Laine, that Laughton was potentially around that. I will say this, contracts are hard to do right now, especially when you’re going through what Philadelphia is going through...I believe the Flyers think that that guy loves being a Flyer and wants to be a Flyer. The question is, can they get it done?

“There are a lot of teams out there, if you told them that Scott Laughton was available for a playoff run, they’re throwing themselves at a guy like him.”

It sounded like teams would be chomping at the bit to get him for the summer of playoff hockey, even going as far as comparing a potential Laughton acquisition having the same effect as the Tampa Bay Lightning acquiring Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow before their eventual championship last season. Both Coleman and Goodrow netted first-round picks along with a couple of mid-tier prospects heading to their respective teams. Now, that package might not be out there, considering the flat cap and the limited number of buyers ahead of the April 12 trade deadline, but it will be interesting to see how teams value Laughton, if he were to be moved.

But, as it has been made evident throughout the rumor mill, the Flyers love having a player of Laughton’s ilk in the lineup. Considering that — according to Friedman — he loves being a part of the Philadelphia organization, it all depends how they view the realistic possibility of signing the pending free agent to a brand new contract.

Aside from Laughton, Friedman touched on the Flyers’ overall approach to the deadline. Due to the rising possibility of them being left outside of the playoffs, the NHL insider mentioned that the team’s focus will be on the long-term future, and not to rescue this season.

“Maybe not now, but maybe it’s at the draft or in the summer,” Friedman said, “I think Philly is going to make one or two major changes.”

He continued, mentioning the team’s need for a top-four defenseman that they tried to address prior to the standings descent.

“I think Fletcher is going to be careful, I think he’s going to take his time. I do think that they look at it now, that they have to solve their Provorov partner issue...I think they’re looking for another right hand-shot ‘D’.

“Is it David Savard? Is there another right hand-shot ‘D’ available? We know that they were interested in [Mattias] Ekholm, but I don’t think they were interested in paying that price.”

Other than potential moves in the near future and looking to preserve some semblance of future success, Friedman mentioned the possibility of them moving on from Nolan Patrick.

“I wonder if it’s time. I do think at times they have been asked about him, and they’ve kind of said ‘no.’ You know, right-shot center, second overall pick; you don’t want to give up on that too easy. But I wonder if both player and team are beginning to wonder if it’s time. We’ll see where it goes.”

All in all, it could go either way in the next seven days. Either GM Chuck Fletcher stays patient and moves no one, opting to try and re-sign Laughton in the summer and keeping the core in tact for a couple more months—or maybe he will uncharacteristically sell as much as he can for future assets to build around a forward-thinking core.

Anything is possible and we’ll just have to wait and see, which blows.

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