VOORHEES, N.J. – With all the hubbub surrounding the selection of No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers’ other first-rounder kind of got lost a bit in the shuffle.
But not anymore, not after the season Morgan Frost just posted in junior hockey.
Frost, a center/left wing out of Barrie, Ont., was taken 27th overall, well ahead of most projections who had him slotted at around No. 40 in the second round.
The Flyers wanted to get maximum value out of this pick because it was part of the trade which sent Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues.
Quickly, Frost has vindicated the Flyers’ leap of faith in him by posting a whopping 112 points in 67 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League.
Some thought Frost’s slender build (he’s listed at 5-11, 172 pounds on the Flyers’ Development Camp roster) might be a reason why he wasn’t more highly thought of by NHL scouts.
But he maintains he’s been working on his weight and is now up over 180 pounds, perhaps even as high as 184.
General manager Ron Hextall likes where this is all headed. He said his scouts thought enough of Frost to pull the trigger on the Schenn swap.
“Every guy on our staff liked Morgan Frost,’’ said Hextall of the decision to go with Frost in the first round.
“Part of the reason we made that deal was because Morgan was on the table. We made that trade [from the perspective that] okay it’s now not a first-round pick. It’s Morgan Frost. And so much of our guys liked him.
“So, credit to our staff and our guys and they all went in to see him a lot, and again Morgan has a lot of work to do, but right now he’s a better player than where he was drafted. Kudos to our amateur staff. Our whole amateur staff and Chris Pryor (assistant general manager, director of player personnel), they did a hell of a job.’’
Of course, junior hockey is a long way from the caliber of the NHL but clearly the 19-year-old Frost is on the right track.
He’s not just working on gaining weight but some muscle, too.
“I finished the season around 175,’’ he said after a drills session at the Skate Zone. “I took some time off, trying to eat a lot, get stronger. As long as I can keep it over 180, that would be ideal.’’
The trick is to not push the limit too much. His game is based on being quick and shifty and you don’t want to lose that extra step.
“I think that (balance) comes from both eating and working out,’’ he said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do so far.’’
Could he follow in the footsteps of a Travis Konecny and make the Flyers while still in his teens?
“My opinion is probably different than others,’’ he said with a grin. “Obviously I want to make the team and if I work my hardest I think it (making the team) is realistic. You never know.’’
The “weighty’’ issue comes into focus because to be effective in the NHL, one has to be able to battle through traffic in front of the net and down in the corners against some rather imposing defensemen.
He’s trying to go about the weight gain the right way.
“I think it’s just trying to eat as often as you can,’’ Frost explained. “Even if it’s just little small meals instead of just having your normal breakfast-lunch-dinner.
“You know, I don’t know what came over me. All of a sudden I have a bigger appetite.’’
Not just for food but maybe a shot with the Flyers this fall.