The Flyers figure to have just one forward spot open during training camp, but center Scott Laughton is not thinking about the numbers game.
I don’t need to look at the roster to see what’s going on,” he said after the first day of the Flyers’ rookie camp Friday in Voorhees. “I just have to do my job every day and I hope it works out.”
Laughton, 19, was the Flyers’ No. 1 pick (20th overall) in the 2012 draft. He played five games with the Flyers last season before being sent to juniors and producing 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 49 OHL games with Oshawa.
Now he’s getting another chance to stay in the NHL.
After the rookie camp, which has 25 players and will culminate with a game Monday against Washington’s prospects, Laughton will join the big-league camp when it opens Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.
“The ultimate goal is to make this team, and that’s what I want to do _ get better every day and show the coaches I’m aware of their systems and just learn and try to become a part of their team,” he said.
Laughton didn’t score, but he didn’t seem out of place _ he was defensively responsible and created some scoring chances _ in his five-game stint with the Flyers last season. He was sent to the OHL to avoid starting his entry-level contract.
“I think he made a real strong impression on all of us,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “He proved he could skate, he could compete, and that he was smart enough to jump into a lineup and play games.”
Going back to juniors last season and “getting another year and becoming stronger and more physically mature, I think that only helps him coming back this year,” Laviolette said.
This year, the Flyers can keep Laughton for 10 games _ five more than last year in the lockout-shortened season _ before his entry-level deal would begin.
The brief stint with the Flyers last season “helped me a lot, and coming into this year, I think I’m more confident and comfortable and I feel better knowing the city,” Laughton said.
The Flyers are expected to use Claude Giroux, Vinny Lecavalier, Sean Couturier and Adam Hall as their centers. But the 6-foot, 194-pound Laughton will be given a look at that position, and Laviolette didn’t rule out the possibility of shifting him to left wing, where there is an opening.
“I’ve never played left wing, but I’m willing to do anything to be able to play on this team,” said Laughton, who had three points in a six-game stint with the AHL Phantoms last season.
Laughton hopes to use the next few days as a stepping stone.
“This camp definitely helps before the big camp,” he said. “I definitely want to show what I can do and be one of the leaders here.”
During the summer, Laughton worked with an on-ice trainer in Toronto, trying to improve his play around the net. “It’s been a process, and I think I’ve been better,” he said.
Tye McGinn, 23, who played in 18 games with the Flyers last season, is among the players Laughton may have to beat out for a roster spot.
Breakaways. Laviolette was impressed with 6-3, 205-pound defenseman Mark Alt, a right-handed-shooting defenseman who is the son of John Alt, a one-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs….. Sam Morin, the Flyers’ No. 1 pick in June, has gained nine pounds _ up to 211 _ since he was drafted. Morin hopes to face some of the Flyers in the big-league camp. “I just have to play my game like in junior and not be impressed by all the veterans and old guys,” he said. ……Laviolette on adding Lecavalier, defenseman Mark Streit and goalie Ray Emery in the off-season: “That’s experience and leadership that’s going into our locker room and helping a young group that’s now a year older.”...Still no word on whether Simon Gagne will be invited to camp on a tryout basis.
Contact Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.