Flyers

Flyers restricted free agent Scott Laughton files for salary arbitration

Flyers restricted free agent Scott Laughton files for salary arbitration

Scott Laughton, one of the Flyers' three remaining restricted free agents, filed for salary arbitration Friday night, according to a release by the NHLPA.

Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov, the Flyers' other two RFAs, are not arbitration eligible.

The deadline for player-elected arbitration was 5 p.m. Eastern Time Friday. The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday.

By electing for arbitration, Laughton and the Flyers can go to a hearing with an independent arbitrator to settle on a salary. General manager Chuck Fletcher and the representation for Laughton can continue to negotiate and possibly strike a deal before a hearing is had. Arbitration hearings are held from July 20 to Aug. 4 in Toronto.

The 25-year-old Laughton enjoyed a career season during 2018-19, putting up personal bests in goals (12), assists (20), games (82) and ice time per game (14:51). The 2012 first-round pick was one of the Flyers' most consistent, hard-working players in a season marred by inconsistency. Among the team's forwards, Laughton was second in shorthanded ice time (183:52), behind only Sean Couturier (184:51). For much of the season, Laughton looked like the Flyers' best penalty-killer in the way he challenged opposing puck carriers, forcing them to make decisions.

In 2019-20, he is pegged to be the Flyers' fourth-line center and should be relied upon heavily again for the PK. Laughton's previous contract was a two-year, $1.925 million deal with an average annual value of $962,500.

"With Scotty Laughton, certainly he has the ability to file for arbitration and if that happens, that will speed up that process — whether it gets done right away or it gets done in the end of July," Fletcher said last week. "The other two that are [non-arbitration], it may take some time. Just looking around the league, it sure seems to be a common theme."

Last summer, Taylor Leier and Alex Lyon filed for salary arbitration. Both were re-signed before July 20 by former GM Ron Hextall. During the summer of 2016, Brayden Schenn and the Flyers came awfully close to meeting with an independent arbitrator but the two parties avoided doing so by agreeing to a four-year deal the morning of the hearing.

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Will Brian Elliott surprise in Flyers' goalie tandem with Carter Hart?

Will Brian Elliott surprise in Flyers' goalie tandem with Carter Hart?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Will Brian Elliott surprise us in the Flyers' 2019-20 goalie tandem?

Emmer

Without a doubt Elliott has earned his spot on the ice and I believe he can bring many surprises to the goalie tandem this year. 

Despite coming into 2019-20 with 14 seasons of NHL experience under his belt, "Moose" still had a lot to prove in Philadelphia. After two injury-filled years with the Flyers, it was time the 34-year-old made a strong and healthy comeback.

Through his first three appearances of the season, he has shown he's still got it.

The team needed strong goaltending — Flyers fans knew that. Now, the Flyers have a strong tandem with Carter Hart and Elliott between the pipes. With so many high hopes running on Hart, it’s a relief to know there’s another strong competitor to trust.

Elliott has been surprising already with what he’s brought in the early going. In his first two starts of the season in Calgary and Philadelphia, the veteran backstop was solid from start to finish. Monday night, specifically, was one of his best, as he helped shut down countless scoring opportunities from the Vegas Golden Knights and was greatly admired later for it by Alain Vigneault and teammates.

It’s still early, but the confidence he’s shown in net, as well as his .925 save percentage through three appearances, is a good start for the veteran goaltender. 

Time will tell what other surprises Elliott can bring to the tandem but one thing is for certain: the Flyers have two strong goaltenders right now and that is a sight for sore eyes. 

Hall

We shouldn’t be too surprised by what has transpired in net.

Hart was strong through three games and then had a few subpar performances. That’s OK. He’s 21 years old and is going to have games in which he’s not sharp, which will result in the Flyers turning to Elliott at times.

Elliott hasn’t been surprising because he’s a more than capable goaltender when healthy — and has shown that even through injury-plagued seasons with the Flyers.

In 2017-18, he went 15-5-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .912 save percentage from Dec. 4 to Feb. 10 before needing core muscle surgery.

In 2018-19, he went 5-5-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .928 save percentage from Oct. 13 to Nov. 15 before suffering a lower-body injury.

For the 34-year-old to truly surprise in the goalie tandem and take away games from Hart, we’ll have to see Elliott keep it up (and stay healthy) as the grind gets tougher. He looks good so far, though, and that’s a major positive.

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Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Maybe Alain Vigneault wanted to make a point.

That it’s not all about goals.

Philly is a results city and, ultimately, the NHL is a results business. But Vigneault firmly believes in the process behind the results. He will see past the goal tallies bolded in the box score — if the process is being grown and done right.

The Flyers’ head coach constantly refers to the process. It’s what matters most when he attempts to build a contender, especially in Year 1 with a new team.

The process, one would think, looked pretty good Monday night … right? 

Especially during a four-goal second period in which the Flyers blew open an eventual 6-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). After all, the Flyers had scored only four goals over their past two games, both lopsided losses.

But Vigneault had other thoughts. He wasn’t about to forget the meaning of the process. He could have easily said the goals came because the Flyers stuck to it.

He didn’t go there.

“We had some puck luck in the second, found a way to score four and got outstanding goaltending,” Vigneault said. “In my mind, that could have been our least effective period in the last eight. But we found a way to win that period, 4-0. Sometimes it works out that way.”

Found a way to score four goals? A least-effective period of four goals?

The Flyers were outshot by Vegas in the middle stanza, 18-13. Brian Elliott came up with monstrous saves as the Flyers permitted some Grade A chances to a dangerous Western Conference team. After the past two losses, the Flyers had mentioned that they expected to be on the positive end of fortunate wins, too — as in that’s hockey, teams can get outplayed and still come away with victories.

The Flyers scored only one goal in the first period Monday but outshot the Golden Knights, 15-7, and really got after them in the offensive zone. The Flyers would take that opening frame over their second period just about every time.

“We thought we played better in the games that we lost,” Michael Raffl said. “We got away from it in the second period a little bit. We’ve got to keep doing what we do and it’s going to work. At the end of the day, when you work like that and keep outshooting opponents, you’ll be on the better end of the game at the end most of the time.”

The Flyers had to practically defend themselves following back-to-back losses by a combined score of 10-4. The Flyers outshot the opposition, 91-38, but uneven defeats don’t sit well with fans, especially ones that have become accustomed to mediocre Octobers.

“Last two games, I know we didn't have the result we wanted, we lost both games, but if you really look into the game, if you understand the game, you understand that we played great games,” Claude Giroux said after morning skate Monday.

The Flyers were OK admitting that they didn’t play their best game against Vegas.

Especially Vigneault.

He’ll be honest about the process — good or bad, no matter what the final score.

“In the second period, we scored four but I really believe that in our last eight periods, it could have been our least effective as far as going north-south a little bit quick, our puck management, making the right plays at the right time,” Vigneault said. “But when we didn’t do it the right way, we got big saves and when they made a mistake in that second period, we were able to make them pay, which we hadn’t been able to do for quite some time.”

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