Next Man Up: Couturier’s misfortune provides opportunity for Scott Laughton

Photo from Elsa/Getty Images

 

The Flyers received some devastating news on the injury front today as multiple team beat writers are reporting that forward Sean Couturier will miss the next month due to a lower body injury. Philadelphia’s playoff hopes may subsequently go down with Couturier as the team is currently in the midst of a 15 game stretch in the month of February. As we talked about in the past, the role Couturier fulfills for this club cannot be understated; his two-way acumen, ability to match-up against other team’s best players and role as the team’s most consistent penalty-killer typically gives the Flyers an opportunity to win every night. What’s more is that the 23 year-old forward finally appears to be comfortable asserting himself offensively.

 

 

His injury is a lose/lose situation anyway you look at it.

 

According to the beats, General Manager Ron Hextall has also recalled forward Nick Cousins from the Leigh Valley Phantoms to take the place of Couturier in the lineup but perhaps more intriguing than that, was Hextall’s claim that Scott Laughton will take the minutes that Couturier plays. Injuries in sports—even the ones that happen to key players that change the overall dynamic of the lineup— always provide opportunity for others. So let’s take a closer look at Scott Laughton.

 

When drafted in the summer of 2012, Scott Laughton was seen by many scouts and hockey pundits as a strong two-way center with his main strength’s being on the defensive side of the puck. To this point, Laughton has shown flashes of that two-way prowess but has also shown good skating ability and perhaps more offensive touch than originally thought. Consistency, however, continues to elude the 21 year-old center, which is not uncommon for players his age. Laughton is not expected to be a big time scorer at the NHL level but he is expected to be an all-situations type player that can provide a little bit of everything.

Ultimately, it will be up to Dave Hakstol on whether or not he will burden Laughton with Couturier’s defensive zone responsibility. Laughton is the only player in the Flyers’ lineup that plays a game akin to Couturier, but the coach’s insistency on giving Laughton fourth line minutes to this point cannot inspire a lot confidence. One thing is certain though: that Sean Couturier’s misfortune will provide Scott Laughton with a major, major opportunity to prove his NHL worth.

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