The Philadelphia Flyers do not have the greatest depth when it comes to young talent within the organization, however, GM Paul Holmgren has shown he knows how to transition the talent he does have on hand up to the NHL level.
Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn are among the productive players who have been given a chance at the NHL level and have produced for the Flyers.
Scott Laughton, a first-round draft pick last June, also must remain in the Philadelphia fold and be allowed to develop. Laughton looks like the quintessential Flyers player.
Laughton is a left-handed shooting center who may never become a 40-goal scorer, but he has the tools to become a great player who is solid on the offensive end, plays defense with responsibility and has something of an edge to his game.
Once he gets his opportunity, he could become the kind of productive player who has an impact on the team on an every-game basis. HockeysFuture.com compared Laughton to former Flyer Mike Richards, who was a key player for the Los Angeles Kings in their run to the 2012 Stanley Cup championship.
Laughton's best attribute may be his competitiveness on the ice and his overall attitude in the locker room. He is going to win the battle on a majority of the 50-50 pucks that go in the corner or ones that he has to fish out from behind the net.
He's not going to relax at any point in the game and he has the kind of personality that will allow him to push his teammates hard in between periods or in the late stages of the game.
There is some risk to Laughton playing that kind of aggressive style. At 6'0" and 175 pounds, he may not come out on the winning end when he has to battle one of the league's giants like Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins or Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres. However, when you have a player who does not peel off in those kind of situations, it speaks volumes to his teammates and the fan base.
Laughton has a very quick and accurate slap shot. He is a very smart offensive player because he will pass the puck to where his teammates are going instead of where they are standing. His offensive instincts are heightened when he senses the defense is starting to run around and is vulnerable.
As a defensive player, his positioning is like that of a veteran player. He is almost always in the right spot and he is rarely caught flat-footed.
When he goes into the corner or fights for the puck along the boards, he seems a little more sure of himself than his opponent.
He also plays angry and he will drop the gloves when it is required.
Laughton has been quite productive. He scored 21 goals and had 32 assists in 64 games for the Oshawa Generals last season. He also had 101 penalty minutes.
He's off to another sharp start with the Generals this season, scoring six goals and 10 assists in 16 games with has 28 penalty minutes.
The lockout will end at some point, and Holmgren should be able to determine when Laughton is ready to acquit himself well at the NHL level.
When that point comes, Laughton will come out with an aggressive edge and will make himself known to Flyers opponents and leather-lunged Flyers fans right away.