Giroux a positive influence on Frost’s early success

Morgan Frost

VOORHEES – There were several reasons why Flyers coach Alain Vigneault placed brand new rookie Morgan Frost on a line with wily “old’’ veteran Claude Giroux.

Some more obvious than others.

Vigneault wanted to get the most out of Frost’s skill set and that’s exactly what happened in Thursday night’s come-from-behind 5-3 win at Carolina.

Among several key plays, Giroux dazzled everyone with a clean draw and perfect back pass to Frost for a quick shot past Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek.

Frost became just the sixth player in Flyer history to score goals in his first two NHL games.

That said, Vigneault also was looking for Frost to get an up-close look at how Giroux operates and uses all that experience.

“I factored in that we were bringing in a skilled player (Frost) and where do you slot that guy in our lineup,’’ Vigneault said. “I expect ‘G’ (Giroux) and our veteran guys – especially the guys who have been with Philly for a long time — to be good role models.

“In knowing G, my expectations were exactly that, that he would take the young guy under his wing. Just like with Joel (Farabee) and ‘Coots’ (Sean Couturier), I expect those veteran guys to put them under their wing and help them become better players.’’

Frost appreciates the assistance. He’s not your average wide-eyed 20-year-old but he knows Giroux is someone who can make him a better player in a hurry.

On that scoring play, Giroux actually turned to Frost and had him move to a better shooting position.

“He’s helpful,’’ Frost said. “He’s a veteran in this league and it’s just the little things he can help me with that are really special.

“That play where he kind of moved me back, won that draw and put it perfectly on my stick, that’s really nice to have that.’’

As captain of the team, Giroux takes pride in making sure he passes along his wisdom to the up and coming prospects.

“For sure, he knows the game really well and he’s smart,’’ Frost said. “If he sees something that I can do better, he’ll tell me. If I need advice on something, I’m not afraid to ask and he’s really helpful.

“He stays really positive all the time and that helps in your first couple games when you’re playing with a player like him.’’

Giroux takes responsibility to make sure everyone is “on the same page.’’ It’s the sort of accountability that every team needs, especially one which is trying to get back to the playoffs after a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

“There’s a reason why they (Frost, Farabee, et al) are in the NHL at such a young age,’’ Giroux said. “They understand the game, they’re talented and you kind of want to let them do their own thing.’’

Giroux was not only impressed with Frost’s scoring ability but his playmaking skills as well.

On the winning goal in Carolina, Frost took a pass from Travis Konecny and threaded the puck through a defender to a charging Giroux to break a 3-3 tie.

“A lot of players can’t make that play,’’ Giroux pointed out.

The Flyers have had five rookies make their NHL debut this season, the most since 2011-12. Giroux says it’s all about developing chemistry with so many new faces.

“Chemistry is a big thing for a team,’’ he said. “You just have to feel united.’’

Giroux was once, so to speak, in Frost’s skates himself a decade ago. He learned from vets like Chris Pronger and Danny Briere.

“I think I was lucky when I was a younger guy, it was not about them teaching me anything,’’ Giroux said. “It was just me watching what they did. Just learning from them.’’

>Laughton returns

Scott Laughton, sidelined with a fractured finger which required surgery, returns to the lineup Saturday for the afternoon home game against Calgary.

Laughton received clearance from team doctors on Thursday and said he felt good after Friday’s practice.

“It was an unfortunate injury,’’ Vigneault said. “He was playing good hockey for our team. He and Kevin Hayes seemed to have some good chemistry at the time, too. So I’m hoping that they take off where they were prior to the injury.’’

Vigneault said Laughton should be a big help on the penalty kill, “so I’m looking forward to having him back in the lineup.’’

The coach indicated Laughton would stay on the wing until his finger is strong enough to handle faceoffs at center.

“It’s going to be a long process,’’ Laughton said. “As long as everything keeps getting better. I’m excited about it.’’

>Short shots

Calgary is coming off a humbling 5-0 loss at St. Louis. The Flames have been a disappointment this year and there have been rumblings about some of the star players and even the coaching staff. . .Vigneault was asked about possibly of using Chris Stewart against a heavy line-up like Calgary’s but the coach indicated he was pleased with Tyler Pitlick’s play and will keep him in for this game.

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 777 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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