Flyers Will Face Curious Decision on Morgan Frost
The Philadelphia Flyers offseason roster shuffle leaves room to speculate about the future of prospect center Morgan Frost, who suffered a season ending shoulder injury in his second game of the 2020-21 season.
Frost is the third ranked prospect in the Flyers system, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s recent analysis. He scored two goals and added five assists in 20 games during his first NHL season in 2019-20. After a highlight-reel NHL debut, his scoring touch faded a bit. He was optioned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in February 2020 in a move that made sense for his development and for the team in the midst of a playoff chase.
The 2017 first-round pick survived the offseason shuffle, and he will play at the NHL level in some capacity this season. Head coach Alain Vigneault and the Flyers coaching staff will have to weigh their options about when he will make his debut in the lineup, who he will play with, and to what extent he can be used.
Vigneault, Fletcher, and Flyers Roster Decisions
Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes are expected to center the top two lines in 2021-22. Frost will have to compete against Scott Laughton and Nate Thompson for playing time down the middle in training camp.
Frost has a higher offensive upside than both Laughton and Thompson, but the other two provide better versatility in the bottom-six. Frost will not be a fourth-line center, and playing him on the third line would require the right complement of wingers that can handle 200-foot responsibilities while the young center adjusts to the NHL game.
Anthony SanFilippo of Crossing Broad recently assessed that Frost would have to “blow them (the organization’s decision makers) away in camp” in order to make the team. He added that he expects a start in the American Hockey League “if Morgan Frost is just what we saw last year and not vastly improved” in his development.
SanFilippo’s skepticism was fueled by Frost’s decision to go home to Canada during the offseason when the organization would’ve preferred him to train in Philadelphia coming off the injury. He also believes that the 2021-22 season is “not about developing players in the NHL” based on the indicators from the offseason decision making of general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Flyers Evaluating Morgan Frost
The curious roster question heading into training camp led Broad Street Buzz to pose a question to Jason Myrtetus of the Flyers Daily podcast about Frost and how he fits into the Flyers lineup plans.
Myrtetus was more optimistic about Frost’s chances to earn the third-line center position in training camp. He responded to our “awesome question” by pointing out that “what we don’t know is what they do know” in reference to Frost’s lack of exposure to the public since the injury and the fact that the organization has a much better idea of where he is in his development. He predicted that Frost makes the opening night lineup against the Vancouver Canucks on October 15.
Despite the conflicting opinions in terms of expected outcomes given by the two respected Flyers media members, both evaluations align with the fact that Frost’s development since the injury as judged by the eyes of the organization’s talent evaluators will factor heavily into the equation.
When Frost enters camp, the impression he makes will be the most noteworthy of any player on the roster leading up to the season.