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Prospect Files: Scott Laughton

In June, this player’s National Hockey League allegiances may change if a team other than the Toronto Maple Leafs calls his name in Pittsburgh at the NHL entry draft. This former Toronto Marlboro minor hockey player has left an impression in many scouts’ eyes over the past 12 months. This week we take a look at Scott Laughton.

The Line:

Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 178 lbs
Shoots: Left
Plays: Centre
Draft Eligible: 2012

Born and raised in Oakville, Ontario, this gritty two-way center has taken the Ontario Hockey League by storm the past season and a half after the Oshawa Generals took him 3rd overall in the 2010 OHL Entry Draft.
Last year, as a 16 year-old rookie, Laughton put up 23 points in 63 games which is respectable for a rookie but this season he has already amassed 46 points in just 54 games, not to mention piling up 84 penalty minutes in that same span.

The last 12 months have been very busy for Laughton, playing in the Under 17 challenge last Christmas and then the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament in the summer for Team Ontario and Team Canada respectively. Laughton not only won gold in both tournaments but he scored the game winning golden goal for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.

Laughton, like I described above, is a gritty two-way center. He will go into the rough areas and isn’t afraid to use his big frame to his advantage, separating guys from pucks and finishing every check. Laughton is not the type of player who skates by pucks. He starts and stops instead; using his explosive first three steps to get himself back into the play and helping his defensive game. Using this style, he is often the first forward back on defense.

When Laughton picks up a puck at the blue line or red line and gets flying he is tough to stop. He is also able to make fast laterall east-west style moves on opponents like only elite players can. Scott will often drive the net with authority and has a great set of hands to go with his aggressive play. He scores a lot of dirty goals but isn’t missing from the highlight reel as he can make defenders look silly as he gains the line with speed.

Laughton is a well-rounded player that really needs to just continue the growth of his overall skill set. I don’t believe that his offensive upside is as high as many who will be drafted in the first round but I think he is more of a lock to be a pro hockey player than most of them. The intangibles are too obvious to miss. He does the little things so well and isn’t a reliability in any facet of the game.

Laughton shouldn’t have to wait long to hear his name in Pittsburgh. I believe he is a first round talent for the 2012 NHL entry draft.

NHL Player Comparison: Shawn Horcoff – Edmonton Oilers

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