If you look at this season so far, there is a glaring hole. The Flyers are missing a forward. His name is Morgan Frost as the young and talented forward has been a healthy scratch for most of the games this season. Why?
This seems very strange. Why would a player like Frost have appeared in only three of the team’s nine games. He has no points, just five shots on goal, and has averaged just under 15 minutes of ice time. As a center, he is a lowly 29.3% in the faceoff circle. He did end up getting back into the lineup against the Hurricanes.
Frost was drafted in the first round by the Flyers in 2017. That’s right. He’s part of the same draft class that brought us: Nolan Patrick, Isaac Ratcliffe, and goalie Kirill Ustimenko. Geez…looking at the 2017 class, along with the 2016 class, it’s no wonder why the Flyers are struggling.
Much like Patrick and Wade Allison, he’s been attacked over and over again by the injury bug. He dealt with a nagging groin injury to start the 2019-20 season in what would’ve been his rookie year. The AHL season got shut down due to COVID. When Sean Couturier was injured in 2020-21, it was expected that Frost would take his spot in the lineup. However, Frost got injured just two games in and had to miss the season with a shoulder injury.
Last year, in his first regular, non-COVID season, he finally had a breakout season. He appeared in 81 games, scored 19 goals, and had 27 assists. He finally showed the promise that we were all hoping for. Unlike Allison who never seemed to grow, Frost showed signs of improvement.
However, Frost was streaky. As the team was prone to injuries and slumps, so went Frost. He opened the season with two goals against the New Jersey Devils. He wouldn’t score another goal until the 23rd of November. In fact, out of his 19 goals, only six were scored before January 1, 2023.
In fact, about his inconsistent play, John Tortorella said:
"“You look at Frosty, I still think he’s up and down like a toilet seat here, as far as you see him coming, then he dips, and then you see him coming. Hopefully, it levels out and keeps going in the proper direction, because he’s supposed to be a skilled guy. You can see it’s there, but it’s still very inconsistent.”"
It’s always nice to be compared to a toilet seat. Still, Tortorella wasn’t wrong, if uncouth. As Frost got more and more comfortable with the system, he found his footing. In the last ten games of the season, he scored five goals with five assists. It seemed as if was going to be one of the stars that this team would count on moving forward.
This season, however, Frost has been out of the lineup. He isn’t injured. He’s just been benched. To be fair, Bobby Brink, Noah Cates, and Joel Farabee have been playing well. Likewise, the old vets like Travis Konency, Scott Laughton, Cam Atkinson, and Couturier are playing back at the level we normally expect them to play at.
Therein lies the issue. Tortorella has expressed a desire to “get him in” the game, but that means sitting someone who is playing well.
"“Frosty just needs to play better, and quite honestly … Frosty, I don’t think, has played poorly. Other people just played better. So that’s a good thing.”"
What’s the solution? Trade him? Well, you might get good value for him, but if he is not playing his stock will drop and keep dropping. If you play him, who’s going to sit? At the same time, Frost isn’t helping this team by just sitting there.
Frost showed us a lot last year. Towards the end of the season, you saw Tortorella trusting him with a lot more responsibility on the ice. I don’t know what Frost is showing or not showing in practice. However, I do honestly feel that he needs an opportunity to prove himself. If he can’t get this, the Flyers may have to cut ties and move on.
However, giving up on him is the easy solution. Frost is only 24 years old. Barring some sort of unforeseen injury, he has a lot of hockey left ahead of him. Giving up on him could end up biting the Flyers in the butt down the line.
Actually, the Flyers have a lot of history with this. Remember Patrick Sharp? The Flyers gave up on him when he was 24. He ended up becoming a foundation piece of the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty and is a borderline Hall of Famer. Vaclav “Vinny” Prospal, who was traded for Alexander Daigle, became a top forward for Ottawa and Tampa. He was traded away when he was 22. Also at the age of 22, the Flyers sent Justin “Mr. Game Seven” Williams to Carolina for Danny Markov in one of the worst trades in team history.
If you are going to trade Frost, it better be because he has nothing he can give this team. As long as he has talent (19 goals in his first full season shows talent) and can play, I see no reason to move on. Philly has a long history of giving up talented young players and then we hang our heads in collective shame when that player becomes a star for somebody else.
Tortorella likes Frost. Unfortunately, some of the other players are playing really well right now. STOP…..Think about that for a second. Our team is sooooooooooooooo good right now, that our coach had trouble finding room for a guy who can score 19 goals until recently. To be honest, that’s a problem I’m glad we had.
If Frost is the competitor that Tortorella is trying to cultivate, watch out! When he gets his chance, he’s going to burst onto the ice like a deranged yeti. He will score goals left and right to prove he belongs. The best is yet to come with Frost and the Flyers will greatly benefit from it.