With the 2023-24 NHL Regular season bearing down on us. The Flyers will open the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 12th in Columbus. We here at EOP will spotlight a Flyers player every week. This week we will look at two Flyers players. Scott Laughton and Morgan Frost.
Another one of the podium to the NHL players for the Flyers. Laughton was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft. At 19 he debuted for the Flyers that fall. His stay with the Flyers and the NHL only lasted five games. After that time, he was sent back to the juniors. Laughton would spend the next two seasons in the juniors. He improved, his scoring improved, and the Flyers were dangerously thin at his position.
After that, he was assigned to the Leigh Valley Phantoms. There he was asked to do something no young hockey player ever wanted to be asked. Be a role player. Laughton was certainly not brought up in youth hockey, or junior hockey to aspire to be a role player. He was drafted in the 1st round of the NHL draft; he debuted that season in the NHL. How could he be a role player? The simple answer was the Flyers had it all wrong.
One of the main issues with the Flyers organization over the last ten years or so has been their player development department. Laughton fits into the category of that failed department. At the age of 22, Laughton was being pulled in every direction by the Flyers. To his credit, he didn’t break or crack under that pressure. Instead, he took the criticism and returned to the minors to work on his new role.
Laughton returned to the Flyers for the 2017-18 season. He quickly established himself as a coach’s favorite, willing to take on any duty, no matter how limited the ice time, and do it as well as possible. Slowly but surely, Laughton’s offense came back. Not in the sense of making him a dynamic NHL scorer, but by 2019-20, he was regularly producing in the 30–40-point range over an 82-game slate.
Suddenly, Laughton wasn’t merely a solid fourth liner. He was a jack-of-all-trades forward who could toil as the team’s 4C for a few weeks and then play wing on Line 2 for a few games and not look out of place. This made it little surprise when new head coach John Tortorella quickly took a liking to Laughton in 2022-23, giving him the most ice time of his career and a leadership letter for his jersey.
Laughton not only fits with the Flyers now; he’s arguably the team’s leader, and as the Flyers rebuild should be a fixture in the faces of the future. He has turned himself into the standards bearer for the type of locker room that John Tortorella is trying to bring to the Flyers. Now, they need to decide whether Laughton has more value to them in that role, or if the club’s pivot to a rebuild demands that they look to cash out on one of the organization’s few developmental success stories of the past decade. Laughton recently signed a contract that keeps him in orange and black through the 2026 season at a cap hit of 3 million annually. A hefty price tag for one of the teams. Solid and proven NHL talents.
So once again the main question surrounding Laughton is whether he would serve the organization better by being traded. Time will tell the rest of the Laughton story.
With a name like Frost, being a hockey player is pretty much a done deal. It would be equivalent to a person with the last name of touchdown in relation to playing football. Not only would that person be destined to play football but also be expected to excel at it.
The Aurora, Ontario native, and Ontario Hockey League product, played three seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, amassing 310 regular season points in less than 200 games. Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Morgan began his professional hockey career with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms before quickly transitioning to a full-time role with the Flyers.
Morgan has now appeared in nearly 160 NHL games and set career highs in goals and points in the most recent campaign. Recently the Flyers signed Frost to his second pro deal. The deal which will keep Morgan in Philadelphia through the 2025 season carries an annual cap hit of 2.1 million dollars. After that contract, Frost will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
Frost enters the 2023-24 season as a player to watch for the Flyers. He started his career shaky going back and forth between the Flyers and the Phantoms but in 2022-23. Under head coach John Tortorella’s play the kids mantra, Frost began to thrive with extended playing time. He set a career-high this past season in goals with 19, assists with 27, and points with 46. Numbers certainly deserve a closer look.
Moving into the season and perhaps beyond it may be time to peel back more layers of him. His natural position is center but at 5 feet and 11 inches and 170 pounds he may be more suited at left wing to capitalize on his speed and fast hands. His comp to me is Morgan’s current GM Danny Briere. Last year the Flyers did not have the luxury of moving him around the lines. But this year with more young players to evaluate a switch to left wing may be what nature intended for him in the first place when he was named Frost.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.