Top draft pick Scott Laughton thrilled to be with Flyers

Posted: July 10, 2012

When Scott Laughton returned home from the NHL draft two weeks ago, he thought it was finally starting to sink in that the Flyers selected him in the first round. He thought he understood the significance of it.

He was wrong.

On day one of the Flyers prospect camp, Laughton's welcome-to-the-Flyers moment came before he hit the ice at 9 a.m. It came in the locker room when he saw the orange Flyers sweater hanging up with his last name on the back above the No. 39. Finally, the magnitude of it all hit him.

"It's a surreal feeling," Laughton said. "I mean, you don't really know what to expect and to go out on the ice and you've got Ian Laperriere running the drills and you watched him play in the NHL for forever."

Day One of the week-long camp commenced Monday morning with the 43-man roster separated into two groups that took the ice for an hour and a half each. Players worked on breakouts, puck handling and battling in front of the net.

Laughton caught the attention of coaches after the first drill of the day.

"There's a lot of guys on the ice," Laperriere said. "But those first-rounders - they stand out. I mean, he really stood out today."

Scouts said Laughton possessed second- or third-round talent in this year's draft, despite where the Flyers selected him. Laughton doesn't let that bother him, though. He just wants to play hockey.

On Monday, he finally got the chance to again, even if he was a bit rusty.

"Not being on the ice a lot and not having that high level of competition out there [hurts]," Laughton said. "So it was nice getting on the ice and getting my legs going."

The 100 or so Flyers fans in attendance also got their first up-close look at the team's 2012 second-round pick.

Anthony Stolarz, a goalie headed to play for Nebraska-Omaha next season, turned heads with his aggressive play. At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Stolarz likes to come out of the crease and use his size as a last-ditch defense if he needs.

The road to Voorhees, not far from his hometown of Jackson, N.J., was rough for Stolarz. He was cut by two teams in the Eastern Junior Hockey League before landing with Corpus Christi last season. His stock skyrocketed there, and coaches love his size.

"I'm here to show off my skills," Stolarz said. "It's kind of like showing that it's right that you are here."

Stolarz was standing in front of his locker located to the right of Danny Briere's at the Flyers Skate Zone. Someone told him the locker he was occupying belonged to Jaromir Jagr last season. His eyes lit up.

"Jagr sat here?" he asked as if in disbelief. "That's so cool."

The players are here to be evaluated and learn to be professionals. But on Day One, it took a little bit of time for everything to sink in.

Family ties. Five players at camp have family ties to the Flyers. Center John Stevens is the son of the former Flyers head coach of the same name. Winger Chase Hatcher is the son of assistant coach Derien Hatcher. Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is the younger brother of recently traded James van Riemsdyk. Defenseman Nick Luukko is the son of Flyers president Peter Luukko, and defenseman Greg Coburn is the younger brother of Flyer Braydon Coburn.

Sestito signs. Restricted free agent Tom Sestito signed a one-year contract with the Flyers, for a reported $605,000.

Sestito battled with Zac Rinaldo for one of the final roster spots during camp last season before ultimately losing the battle.

The scrappy left winger spent the bulk of his time with the Adirondack Phantoms but did play in 14 games for the Flyers last season, amassing one point and 83 penalty minutes.

Doan update. Free-agent winger Shane Doan is expected to entertain offers Tuesday. The Flyers are interested, but the veteran has Detroit, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh at the top of his list if he doesn't return to Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic.

Contact Chad Graff at or 215-854-4550. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGraff.

Staff writer Sam Carchidi contributed to this story.

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