By Sarah Berkowitz

On Monday Scott Laughton laced up his skates for practice still thinking he was on the bubble to make the Flyers roster.

What Laughton didn’t know was that as practice began, general manager Ron Hextall was telling the media that Laughton had made the team.

“I still haven’t heard anything,” Laughton told the media after practice. “For me it’s just every day working hard and trying to make the team better.”

“He’s a great player,” Flyer Sean Couturier said. “He understands the game pretty well, he plays both sides of the ice, he can take care of defense. Sometimes when you’re young, that’s what you have to learn as a high-end pick. He’s definitely developed and learned a lot these last three years when he’s been up and down, and he’s had a great training camp.”

Laughton will likely be called upon to play against the top lines of Flyers opponents. Coach Dave Hakstol said that won’t be the only role Laughton plays, but it will be part of his job.

“Scotty needs to be very good two ways,” Hakstol said. “He’s got to be hard-nosed and he’s got to be reliable. Some of it is in the abilities of a player to be able to play that role. Certainly Scotty has those abilities in terms of his skating ability, a strong stick and his competitiveness. Along with that, it’s a mentality and some experiences that help you be good in those roles, whether it be on face-offs or in any three zones on the ice during play – I think mentality and experience helps.”

Laughton has developed those things over the past year or so. This won’t be his NHL debut – in addition to five games for which Laughton stuck around the year he was drafted, he also enjoyed a 31-game call-up last season. That gave him the experience, and he said he worked hard in the offseason to develop the other elements.

“A lot of it is comfort level with the guys, and confidence,” he said. “To be able to play with them for half the year last year and be familiar with them, that takes a lot. Just being comfortable with the puck, things like that. I think I worked a lot on my skating a lot this summer, and conditioning. That’s probably what took me to the next level.”


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