The Philadelphia Flyers are quickly losing hope in the playoff race. After an overtime loss to the Islanders and just Monday night’s overtime win in the home-and-home with the Bruins, they sit five points behind Boston with 18 games to play.
The Flyers’ trade deadline plans may hinge on this week. There’s one player that teams would love to pry away from Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers: Scott Laughton.
Laughton was the lone Flyers player on TSN’s Trade Bait List last week, and he remained the lone Flyer on the list this week. However, Laughton moved up from the No. 16 spot to the No. 9 spot.
Laughton’s name has come up a lot in trade rumors over the past week or two. He is a pending free agent that plays the game the right way. If the Flyers are sellers, they have to at least listen to offers, right?
Elliotte Friedman had Laughton as one of his 31 points in this week’s 31 Thoughts column:
“12. I could see Pittsburgh with interest in Scott Laughton. Remember: Philadelphia sent Mark Streit to Tampa in 2016, where he was flipped to the Penguins. (That’s awesome — the league needs teams who hate each other so much they refuse to make trades.) My sense on the Flyers is they’ve tested the market on Laughton. These things can change quickly, but the last time I checked, there hadn’t been much extension talk. I’m a huge Laughton fan, and the tough thing about Philly potentially losing him is that he loves being a Flyer.”
Trading Laughton is already a surprisingly polarizing subject. Trading him to the Penguins would be hard to swallow for a lot of Flyers fans. Hell, it may even be hard to imagine for Laughton, who has spent his entire career in the Flyers organization. The Penguins have a general manager that knows Laughton well, however. Some guy by the name of Ron Hextall.
Laughton was asked about his name being in trade rumors and he had nothing but love for the city of Philadelphia.
“It hasn’t really crossed my mind. If that happens, it happens,” Laughton said.
“My focus is here in Philly. I love it here in Philly. I love the staff here, I love the guys here. I’m focused on coming to work every day and trying to get better and push the pace a little bit and get a playoff spot. That’s my focus right now and whatever happens happens, but I love it here in Philly.”
Should the Flyers trade Scott Laughton?
Laughton fits right into the Philadelphia hockey mold. He is a feisty, hard-working player that can move up and down the lineup. He’ll slide up to the second-line wing spot one night and the fourth-line center role another and not miss a beat. He’ll play the role that he has to play to help the team win.
It’d be great to see Laughton stay with the Flyers and re-sign on a team-friendly deal after this one expires. However, if teams are going to offer a draft pick in the first or second round or even a third-round pick, Chuck Fletcher may need to pull the trigger.
If Fletcher allows Laughton to help facilitate a potential trade and choose his destination, the Flyers may even be able to trade him for a decent return while also leaving the door open for him to return in the offseason.
The Flyers are quickly falling out of contention for a playoff spot and only have 18 regular-season games left. Of those 18 games, 15 of them are after the trade deadline. A second- or third-round pick is worth more than 15 games of Scott Laughton, especially if Fletcher plays his cards right.
Photo: Heather Barry Images