jester wrote:I love stats ... but, if you watched Laughton the last couple of years and had confidence in the direction of his development ... He was *bad* defensively as a center (a supposed strength coming out of junior), and only showed flashes at the wing. I saw nothing that flashed "gotta have this guy on the roster."
Neuvirth was signed to be a backup, and likely to expose to the expansion draft. I would hope they intend someone else to be the starter, and I suspect the team soured on Mason behind the scenes. May not be the best decision, but we are one regime removed from ditching Bob for Bryz.
This organization is focused on 2 years from now when it hopes to build a team anchored by a growing and dynamic defense of Provorov, Ghost, Morin, Sanheim, Hagg, Myers, etc. There are some big decisions with cap space, forwards, and goalie (he may be in house already, btw).
To an extent this was a throwaway season, and next year likely is to.
That's what they should have been doing this year. I personally don't think Laughton will ever be a reliable middle-six NHL C on the Flyers (both because of his flaws and because of the current make-up of the roster). However, I do think that he has solid potential to be a good 2nd/3rd line winger with plenty of speed and some scoring touch. And we are fairly light on wingers that can (a) skate well and (b) score at ES.
This year would have been a particularly good year to try that theory on for size because, as you point out, it became somewhat of a throwaway season. Maybe see if he can play NHL PK as well. Instead, he is playing 1st line C in the AHL (according to that Highland Park Hockey blog).
This would have been a good time to give Laughton a full-season NHL chance at wing. After that, you either decide he's a player worth keeping around or you cut him lose. I think it would have been good to do the same experiment with Weal last year (which they're now doing belatedly).
Instead, we still have zero idea if Laughton will be an NHL contributor. And same thing for Weal, his percentages right now are unsustainable.
Yes, in the grand scheme of NHL life, this is not a dealbreaker. Best-case scenario is a 40 point winger it sounds like.
What worries me is the philosophy that says, "we're going to play some veteran guys that are just bad ES hockey players because they try hard and have grit instead of giving younger players a shot." I very much hope that the org does not think this way.