To our knowledge, there is no training school for NHL captains.
The only real way to get a quality “education” is to play the game for a while, learn from veteran players, and over the years try to lead by example.
All of this could be of interest to the Flyers, as they could be looking for a new captain within the next month.
It’s the NHL’s worst-kept secret, current captain Claude Giroux might heed those famous words, “Go west, young man,” if all the trade rumors about him heading to the Colorado Avalanche are true.
If that turns out to be the case, who would be next to carry on the proud tradition established by former captains such as Bob Clarke, Dave Poulin, Eric Lindros and Keith Primeau?
Considering Sean Couturier just underwent season-ending back surgery, that likely knocks him out of the shortlist. Kevin Hayes also has the qualifiers, but he’s also been out injured most of the year. A veteran like Keith Yandle could work, but he only has a one-year contract.
In our opinion, Scott Laughton is the best candidate for the position.
He’s been a member of the organization since 2012, captained Canada’s 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship team and re-signed with the Flyers a few years ago when he could have tested free agency .
Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo recently put an alternate captain’s “A” on Laughton’s jersey, and for good reason. Laughton responded with a six-game point streak and a three-goal streak. The success is no surprise.
“I think a lot of that is because Coots (Couturier) has been out the whole time, with Hayes there’s obviously been an opportunity for someone to step in in a leadership role,” Yeo said. about Laughton’s recent success. “A” on his shirt and I feel like he’s taken a big step forward in that regard. He expresses himself so much on the bench at the moment. It doesn’t matter if we lead a goal or not. And his leadership goes far beyond what they say. He’s the guy who does things the right way, shift after shift. He does things right in the D zone. It allows him access to his game, it allows him to generate that speed to get on the attack and create offense.”
In addition to captaining Canada’s 2014 World Juniors team, Laughton (whose nickname was “Captain Canada”) won gold with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka 2011 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and bronze with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Brno, Czech Republic.
Additionally, Laughton served as alternate captain for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.
Flyers/TNT TV analyst Keith Jones says Laughton has made great strides in the leadership department.
“He’s at the point in his career where it looks like he’s starting to take the next step as far as his individual game goes,” Jones said. “I think to lead in the National Hockey League, you also have to do numbers. You must be able to play the game with confidence. And that confidence has to be something you can pass on to the guys you play with. I know this is something that Claude Giroux has done very well throughout his career. Laughton has those abilities. He’s fallen into a bigger role, not just in the bodychecking game, but also offensively in the absence of some of the Flyers’ best players. I think that’s just another aspect of how Scott can lead by example, not just verbally communicating things but showing guys what needs to be done on the ice and that’s important. »
A former first-round pick (2012), Laughton’s professional career got off to a slow start. He had a brief five-game tryout with the Flyers during the 2012-13 season, then, after playing 102 games with Philadelphia between 2014-16, was returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for all but two games in the season. 2016-17 campaign. .
He responded with 19 goals for the Allentown team, returned to Philadelphia, and has been a mainstay on the third or fourth line ever since.
Other players are noticing this resilience and must be impressed. Does this count when evaluating a player’s credentials for a captaincy?
“It’s true,” Jones said, “and I think that’s kind of the story of Laughton throughout his career. He just kept getting better and better. Those are also great examples of things you can share with other players. Especially with where the Flyers are with their evolution right now in the absence of guys who were supposed to be key contributors. Other players have opportunities to show what they can do, some haven’t excelled. Laughton has and I think that bodes well for him moving forward.”
Laughton acknowledges that he has made progress in the area of leadership.
“I try to be vocal and bring energy,” he said. “It’s all you can do every night, try to be consistent. Work as hard as you can and show it.”
Jones said he would endorse Laughton for the “C” should a vacancy arise.
“I like the qualities that Laughton brings to the table when it comes to leadership,” Jones said. “I like that he’s been in the city for a while and realizes what it’s like here. I think the experience matters. Coming from somewhere else can be a bit daunting. For the guys who are here and around this team for a long time, Laughton has all the qualities you would want in a captain.