Top pick Laughton has simple goals for camp
VOORHEES, N.J. – The Flyers’ first-round pick of last year, Sean Couturier, made an immediate splash in the NHL, impressing his teammates and coaches in a rookie-year campaign that far exceeded expectations.
This year’s top pick, Scott Laughton, isn’t expected to follow in Couturier’s footsteps – at least, not right away. His goals for this week’s prospect camp, which kicked off Monday, are a bit simpler.
“Just learn from all the pros,” he said. “It’s one of the best organizations in the world. They have guys who played in the NHL for over 1,000 games, so just learn from them and see what they think.”
The Flyers nabbed Laughton with the 20th overall pick in last month’s draft, a move that came as a surprise to many who expected the team would take advantage of the defenseman-heavy class to fortify their blue line. But something about 6-foot, 170-pound Laughton piqued the Flyers’ interest, and when the time arrived, general manager Paul Holmgren called his name.
Laughton has known he’s a Flyer for a couple weeks at this point, but the 18-year-old center’s fate has only just now begun to feel like reality.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” he said. “You don’t really know what to expect. And to go on the ice, and you’ve got Ian Laperriere running the drills and you watched him in the NHL. Hasn’t really sunk in, but it’s just a really unbelievable experience.”
The current Oshawa Generals (OHL) forward arrives in Philadelphia relatively unknown. He was ranked 50th by International Scouting Services and checked in at No. 42 in The Hockey News’
list of top prospects ahead of the draft. But what Flyers fans need to know, for now, is this: He’s a two-way forward known for defensive prowess. He modeled his game after his favorite player, Mike Richards.
Drills at Day 1 of camp were mostly basic, and one-on-ones were limited, so look for Laughton to demonstrate his hard-nosed style of play as prospect camp progresses. Sunday morning's scrimmage should provide a good opportunity for fans to get more of a sense of his ability.
“It was [nice to get back on the ice],” he said. “Not being on the ice a lot and not having that high level of competition out there, it was nice to get out on the ice and get my legs going.”
In place of specific goals for this week's prospect camp, Laughton has elected to keep his objectives simple.
“Just coming in and learning and getting better every day,” he said.E-mail Sarah Baicker at email@example.com