Flyers

Scott Laughton, Flyers agree to 2-year, $4.6 million contract

Scott Laughton, Flyers agree to 2-year, $4.6 million contract

No arbitration for Scott Laughton and the Flyers. Not even close.

Laughton and the Flyers on Friday agreed to a two-year contract extension with an average annual value of $2.3 million.

The restricted free agent and the club had an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 30. It's not surprising they never got to it.

This is a good deal for Laughton — and deserved. It's an honest contract for a player that has paid his dues. The 25-year-old's previous contract was a two-year, $1.925 million deal with an average annual value of $962,500.

The 2012 first-round pick has found his niche in the NHL, becoming one of the Flyers' more vital depth pieces. During 2018-19, Laughton delivered career highs in goals (12), assists (20), games (82) and ice time per game (14:51). Just as importantly, Laughton has turned into a valuable penalty-killer as he was second on the team last season in shorthanded ice time (183:52), behind only Sean Couturier (184:51).

The Flyers' 2018-19 campaign was ravaged by inconsistency, but Laughton always played hard and stood out with his effort on the PK. He is slotted to be the Flyers' fourth-line center in 2019-20, between Michael Raffl and possibly Tyler Pitlick.

"When you look at Laughts and Raf, they play some heavy minutes, they can grind it out in the offensive zone and make it hard for the opposition and change momentum," former Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said in March. "So the next line that comes out there can have an easier time because the previous line from the opponent couldn't get onto the ice.

"Those guys are invaluable and they are just as important as guys that are putting up the big points."

Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny, both not arbitration eligible, are the Flyers' remaining RFAs. Provorov's new contract could take time as both sides appear to be at somewhat of a standstill, while Konecny could be in for a bridge deal (see story).

"I expect as the summer goes on, we'll continue to chip away at this," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday via a conference call. "The market will continue to flesh out as we go and we'll get there; we'll get there by the end."

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Watch here as Gritty goes full savage mode on the Houston Astros

Watch here as Gritty goes full savage mode on the Houston Astros

Wait, wait ... Gritty did what?

The past few weeks in MLB may go down as some of the craziest the league and fans have ever witnessed.  

And just about everyone has voiced their opinions on the matter ... and now it looks like Gritty has, too.

That's right, everyone's favorite mascot decided to go full savage mode and trade in his infamous drum for a trash can during the Flyers' win over the Penguins on Tuesday.

What was on the trash can, you ask?

Why, it's the Astros' logo on all four sides.

Way to go Gritty, you just broke the sports world once more (don't worry, we love it).

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After shutting out Sidney Crosby, Penguins, Flyers have taken down NHL's top 4 teams in span of 14 days

After shutting out Sidney Crosby, Penguins, Flyers have taken down NHL's top 4 teams in span of 14 days

BOX SCORE

The Flyers will confidently go into their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week knowing that they can beat the best teams in the NHL.

Especially after shutting out the Penguins, 3-0, Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Over a span of 14 days, the Flyers have taken down the Capitals, Bruins, Blues and Penguins — the top four clubs in the NHL standings.

The Flyers (27-17-6) improved to 9-2-3 against the Metropolitan Division after going 10-16-2 against divisional opponents last season.

Alain Vigneault’s team is three points out of third place in the division, while the 60 points overall are the Flyers’ most through 50 games since 2011-12, when they started 30-14-6 and last won a playoff series.

The Penguins (31-14-5) were shut out for just the second time this season.

• The Flyers’ penalty kill has gone 25 for 28 over the last seven games, which included matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Bruins, Blues and Penguins.

The Flyers went 5-2-0 during that stretch, in large thanks to the improved PK this season.

• Travis Konecny is surging into his first All-Star Game.

Through 47 games, the 22-year-old already has a new career high in assists with 26 after feeding James van Riemsdyk during the second period to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.

At second intermission, Konecny sung the praises of Claude Giroux, who started the whole sequence.

"Everyone looks at the play when the goal happened, but it was one of the nicest plays that G has ever made was that play,” Konecny said. “It is such a heads-up play to lay the puck into an area like that."

Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting new career highs across the board.

Meanwhile, the new line of van Riemsdyk, Giroux and Konecny has starred in two games. Suffice it to say Giroux will be staying at center for at least a little longer.

• Jakub Voracek has looked like a force for a lengthy stretch.

Over his last 28 games going back to Nov. 23, the 30-year-old winger has put up 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) and a plus-14 rating.

Nobody can get on him for his defense right now. If you’ve watched, you’ve seen him skate, forecheck and make plays in the offensive zone on a nightly basis.

“Jake is coming on, like he tends to do,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last Tuesday. “I remember when I got the job here last year, they were talking about how Jake was struggling and he had a pretty big second half, so he seems to be finding his legs.”

• Since returning from core muscle surgery, Sidney Crosby had eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games, while Evgeni Malkin had gone scoreless only twice over his last 19 games, a stretch in which he had put up 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists).

The Flyers held both stars scoreless and to only three shots.

• Brian Elliott has won three straight with 83 saves on 87 shots.

He has been terrific in Carter Hart’s absence.

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, who entered 11-3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .929 save percentage over his last 15 games, made 27 saves on 29 shots.

• Kevin Hayes has been a treat to watch on the penalty kill. Instead of quickly clearing the puck, which allows the opposing power play to restart, the 6-foot-5 center will often hold onto the puck to milk more seconds and force the opposition to take it away from him.

The strategy worked perfectly in the first period against the Penguins.

Since 2016-17, Hayes is fourth among all NHL players in shorthanded points with 14 (seven goals, seven assists), behind only Brad Marchand (17), Michael Grabner (16) and William Karlsson (15).

With each game, we’re seeing more and more why.

• Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher J.T. Realmuto took in the rivalry showdown.

Konecny will represent the Flyers at the NHL All-Star festivities this weekend in St. Louis.

The Flyers are off until next Thursday when they practice at 2 p.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before visiting the Penguins that Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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