VOORHEES – Everyone knew Morgan Frost would be a Flyer someday, it was just a matter of when.
When turned out to be Monday when the 2017 first-round (27th overall) draft pick was promoted from the Phantoms.
To make room on the roster, the Flyers returned Carsen Twarynski to the Phantoms.
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault didn’t waste any time giving Frost, a 20-year native of Barrie, Ont., a prominent role in the lineup.
Vigneault is quite aware the Flyers have been only averaging about 2.7 goals over their last 10 games.
Unless there’s a last-minute change, Frost will make his NHL debut and center a top line with captain Claude Giroux on left wing and team leading scorer Travis Konecny on right when the Flyers visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
While on the surface it might look like the Flyers are making one of those typical roster moves after a winless streak (which reached three games after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders on Saturday), Vigneault insisted the Frost elevation stood on its own merit.
“Morgan’s been improving,’’ Vigneault said after Monday’s practice at the Skate Zone, “and playing at a good pace (with the Phantoms). He’s been making good decisions with the puck.’’
Vigneault said Phantoms coach Scott Gordon was happy with Frost’s progression. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher also liked what he saw.
“We’re 20 games in, we feel we’re in a good place,’’ Vigneault said. “We feel we’ve improved but there are definitely some areas we need to improve. Our five-on-five play is one of them.
“By bringing Morgan in, it gives us better balance and will help us with our five-on-five play. The teams that are going to get into the playoffs are the ones which continue to improve. We need to be one of those.’’
Frost is the fifth player to make his NHL debut with the Flyers this season, following Connor Bunnaman, Twarynski, Joel Farabee and German Rubtsov.
“He (Frost) is an offensively gifted player,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s playing with ‘G’ and ‘TK,’ so he’s going to get a chance to show what he can do.’’
Frost was one of the last cuts from training camp and there was obvious disappointment. But the key was remaining patient.
In 16 games with the Phantoms, Frost has produced five goals and 12 points.
“Aside from points, I think I was learning the game more,’’ he said. “Learning how to manage the puck, basically the pro game. The offense just comes with it.’’
There’s a chance Frost could see some time on the power play, just as Farabee has.
Frost said he called his father as soon as Gordon told him he was going to Philadelphia. Both his parents intend to be at Tuesday night’s game in Sunrise, Fla.
“I know it’s cliché, but it’s every kid’s dream growing up,’’ Frost said. “After I got that call (from Gordon), I didn’t know what to do. For like an hour, so much joy, so many things running through your head. It’s everything you’ve worked for.’’
It looks like Giroux will slide over to take some of the faceoffs against Florida because that area is still a work in progress for Frost.
Konecny and several other Flyers say Frost has the goods to make it at this level.
“He brings a lot of skill,’’ Konecny said. “I’m excited for him.’’
Andy Andreoff, who was called up from the Phantoms a couple weeks ago, said Frost (who will wear No. 48) should fit right in.
“He’s getting better and better in the ‘D’ zone,’’ Andreoff remarked. “He took a lot of responsibility down there. I’m sure you will see a lot skill out there (vs. Florida).’’
Going down for 16 games was probably a blessing in disguise.
“It’s his first year and I’m sure he was a little upset (at the end of training camp),’’ Andreoff said. “He didn’t make the team. But he took advantage of his time down there and that’s why he’s getting a little payback here.’’
Added Frost: “That was probably the right thing for my career. Learned a lot down there. It was a great experience.’’
>Expecting more from Hayes, JVR, Voracek
Vigneault has put together a unit which might be called the “Time to Score’’ line because it has three players – Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek – who are mired in scoring slumps.
Hayes has gone 11 games without a goal, Voracek 10 games and JVR has only one goal in his last 11.
“We have some players who know that five-on-five they can do better,’’ Vigneault said. “And contribute a little bit more.
“I expect more from James, from Kevin, from Jake as far as five-on-five play. If you ask those guys, they would tell you the same thing. They need to be better for our team to get into the playoffs.’’
Vigneault said he had no trouble putting these three players together.
“That should be a good, big NHL line,’’ the coach commented. “They should be able to contribute offensively and defensively.
“I know that they want to do well. We’re 20 games in. It’s time. Obviously they feel pressure. But that’s why they’re paid the big bucks. You have to deliver.’’
Defenseman Matt Niskanen was given Monday off from practice as a maintenance day. . .Scott Laughton, who is recovering from a broken finger, will not make the Florida-Carolina trip but is practicing and, if cleared by doctors on Thursday, could be ready for Saturday’s home game against Calgary. . .In Monday’s practice, Vigneault had Sean Couturier centering Farabee and Oskar Lindblom. The projected fourth line has Michael Raffl with Andreoff and Tyler Pitlick.
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