Flyers analysis

Why Laughton appreciated this phone call from Tortorella

Laughton, who turns 30 this month, has seen his name in trade rumors the last three deadlines

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Three years of trade speculation would wear on anybody.

At this point, Scott Laughton appreciates any reprieve from the rumor mill.

Even if it's just a couple of months.

For a third straight trade deadline, Laughton heard his name bandied about this season but remained a Flyer when the 3 p.m. ET cutoff arrived. Now is the break until the NHL draft in late June, when trade buzz always picks back up.

"It would be nice not to think about it until the draft I guess," Laughton said a little over three weeks ago at his end-of-the-season press conference.

The Flyers mean a lot to Laughton and Laughton means a lot to the Flyers. He has been in the organization since 2012, making his NHL debut at 18 years old. As he turns 30 this month, Laughton is entrenched in the community, has taken on a leadership role the last two seasons and has played his best hockey over those seasons, which has only fueled his trade value.

Head coach John Tortorella didn't wait to reach out to Laughton after the alternate captain's name hit the trade winds at the start of February. Being open for business in a rebuild, the Flyers' decision-makers have tried to be transparent with their players.

"Right from the get-go, when my name was in rumors, I got a call from Torts right away, we had a good chat about it," Laughton said. "All of them were very upfront with me of kind of what they saw and what they were thinking. I was never in the dark, which was a really good feeling."

The 2023-24 season was the organization's first with Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO and Flyers governor Dan Hilferty, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and general manager Danny Briere in their roles. They were formally introduced right around this time last year.

Laughton commended them for their in-person involvement.

"You don't see your team president and owner coming down and shaking your hand after every game, Danny's in the locker room," he said. "That feeling makes the players want to be a part of this, those guys care. And you see it on a day-to-day basis, especially with Dan Hilferty and Jonesy, you don't see that with many teams.

"They're there, they're active with us and they're around all the time, they let you know. I think it's so beneficial, not only for the young guys, but the older guys, too, to feel that. It feels like a family."

Laughton has been a popular trade candidate for many reasons. He can play center or winger, he has a playoff edge and he can help both special teams, most importantly the penalty kill. Over the last two seasons, Laughton has led the NHL in shorthanded scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists). He also has a team-friendly $3 million cap hit and two more years left on his contract.

All those aspects have made him a tough decision for a Flyers team that has been open about having "a long ways to go."

"It's the part of the process we're in as a team," Tortorella said in February. "We can't look for things not to continue our process. We have so many things to do, so much more of the process to build this team that we can't be getting too emotional. If it's the best thing for our future of our team in building it the proper way, we have to follow through. We have to. The guys know it, we've been very forthright publicly about this. We need to stay with it."

The Flyers' rebuild looked expedited this season for about four and a half months. How the players dictate the club's timeline moving forward will go a long way for Laughton's future.

"I want to be here, I've made it pretty clear, I want to be a part of this," he said. "I accept my role wherever it is. I've built a life here and I want to see it succeed, I want to be a part of this city when we're at the top. I came in after a couple of big playoff series in 2010 and '11, I felt the energy and we started to get it back this year.

"I really want to be a part of this, so we'll see what happens here. I haven't really put much thought into it, I'll let Danny and Jonesy and those guys take care of that stuff and whatever they think they need to do for the team going forward. I've said it all along and I'll keep saying it, I love it here, I want to be here and I want to win here. That's what I want to do."

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