A beautiful aspect to the 2019-20 Flyers is that there was no clear-cut winner for the team's most improved award.
The Flyers saw many improvements this season, which flipped them from the league's 22nd-best team in 2018-19 to the sixth-best club in 2019-20.
One player that has taken big strides over this season and last is Scott Laughton, a 26-year-old forward who has turned himself into a vital depth piece for the organization. Laughton's growth was recognized Wednesday as the 2012 first-round pick earned the Flyers' 2019-20 Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as the team's most improved player, an honor voted on by teammates.
It's pretty special," Laughton said Wednesday to Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "Being in the organization for a little bit of time, it might have taken me a little bit longer to kind of get my wheels spinning and get comfortable in the league. It definitely means a lot. A lot of hard work that I've put into it to try and get better and create a role for myself.
What has made Laughton so valuable to the Flyers is his positional versatility and role forward qualities. He is a hard-skating, physical, forechecking player who kills penalties and provides secondary scoring. After putting up career highs in goals (12), assists (20), games (82) and ice time per game (14:51) during 2018-19, Laughton delivered a new career high of 13 goals this season (despite playing 33 fewer games) to go along with a plus-13 mark. Over the last two seasons, the Flyers are 17-4-1 in games that Laughton scores a goal.
"A lot of things go into it, not just one thing," Laughton said of his success this season. "Our team play was really good and we had a really strong team. A lot of guys that I played with throughout the year really helped me and just the opportunity that I was given by the coaching staff of carving out my role and being the reliable guy. A lot of things go into it but it was definitely the most comfortable I've been on the ice and playing in the NHL."
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