Flyers: Is Morgan Frost the right fit as 13th forward?

Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With Morgan Frost being the 13th forward for the Flyers this season, is it the right move?

As we look at the Flyers roster, we see what looks like a team that can possibly contend for a Stanley Cup.  The roster has good mixture of youth and veterans, strong goaltending, a mobile defense, and Pacific Ocean levels of depth at forward.

When you have a team that seems built to potentially win it all, sometimes young, talented players trying to break in can fall through the cracks.  Fortunately, Frost’s performance at training camp this year was strong enough that he was able to make the team as the 13th forward.

There is still one question that remains – is Frost going to thrive in his position as the 13th forward?

Frost has been a much hyped up prospect since he was drafted 27th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.  Fans have been excited, if not impatient, to see the kid in orange and black join the likes of Patrick, Joel Farabee, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Carter Hart as part of the immense young talent in what is looking like the Flyers soon to be core.

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In the 2019-20 season, fans got to see their first glimpse of Frost at the pro-level.  After posting 5 goals and 7 assists in 16 games with the Phantoms, Frost made his debut with Philadelphia in November, scoring a goal in his first game.

You were able to flashes of brilliance here and there, but Frost was unable to stick full-time with the team, and even when he was part of the Philadelphia bubble team and the team was floundering in the playoffs, he wasn’t even able to break in.

Fast forward to January 12, 2021, and Frost finally made the team, but as the 13th forward.  Let’s unpack what that means exactly.

Philadelphia Flyers
Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The reason you’re seeing Frost as the 13th forward is because of two very good reasons:  The insane depth at the forward position, and the re-emergence of Nolan Patrick to reclaim the third line center position.

It was always going to be an uphill climb for Frost to lock in at center, or the top 9 in general, if Nolan Patrick was going to return to form – which is most likely why head coach Alain Vigneault has had Frost play on the wing at certain points during training camp.

With no spot in the top 9, what are we to expect of Morgan Frost this season? Rotating in and out of the 4th line, mostly as a winger.

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Morgan Frost needs to play games, that we can all agree. The only way he can take it to the next level is if he’s able to play regularly.  It’s imperative that in a shortened season you hit the ground running, but with Frost being asked to play out of position, and in a role he’s most likely not suited for, there will be no time to figure it out like you could in an 82 game season.

There would be no surprise if he is sent back to the Phantoms at some point to gain playing time back at center.

With Frost you have someone who projects to be an eventual top six center.  He needs to play with players that have more skill, and that is how he will be successful in the NHL.  No better example of this is when Sean Couturier entered the league.

Saddled with below average skilled players in the beginning of his career, it wasn’t until he was paired with higher skilled line-mates that his offensive potential was unlocked, and he went from just a defensive specialist to an elite 1st line center.