Without his locker buddy and ‘brother,' Laughton drives forward in Philly


Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl were locker buddies at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone. If one was interviewed at his stall following practice, there was a good chance you'd be interviewing the other, as well.

They'd find a way to make it a package deal. Seldom did they not take cracks at one another.

Back in 2017, Raffl said his back was sore from carrying Laughton on the fourth line. He called Laughton "a good helper." When Laughton was asked what he liked about playing alongside Raffl, he replied: "Nothing."

Good teammates, right? Actually, best friends.

Monday was a whirlwind, bittersweet day for the 26-year-old Laughton. He signed a five-year contract extension with the Flyers in the afternoon. He woke up that day uncertain if he'd be traded away from the club that drafted him in 2012.

"Pretty stressful couple of hours in the morning there for me, just not knowing what was going to happen," Laughton said. "Just very thankful that we got something done in the afternoon there and I’m able to stay in Philly."

But on the same day, Raffl was traded to the Capitals, ending his eight-year career with the Flyers. The 32-year-old Austrian signed an entry-level contract with the club back in May 2013 and has played all 504 of his career games in a Flyers uniform.

Laughton and Raffl would carpool to the rink every day.

"He's a really, really good friend of mine," Laughton said Tuesday before the Flyers' game at Capital One Arena. "Tough part of the business. He’s going to a good team so I’m happy for him to go here to Wash and have a chance. More of a brother and a really, really good friend.”

Both Laughton and Raffl entered this season on expiring contracts, which made them trade candidates at the deadline as the selling Flyers shifted their mindset to next season.

"I've been in this position before when a close friend gets traded," Claude Giroux said. "It sucks.

"Coming to the rink every day with Raf, he's kind of a goof, he's always joking around and he always had a smile on his face. He's a great teammate. You play with a lot of teammates in your career, but I'd say Mike is one of the best teammates I've ever had. We got to be pretty close, so we had some good memories together."

As Raffl gets set to wear a different uniform for the first time in his NHL career, Laughton will continue his future with the Flyers — just without his locker buddy.

"I really believe in this franchise and the people around it," Laughton said. "I want to be a part of something here where we can do something special. Having that term is part of that and just being part of the group here and trying to win a Cup at the end of the day. That’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to continue to work hard and push for that goal. I know everyone around here is going to try and do the same.”

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