VOORHEES, N.J. – Even in a 56-game season, hockey still remains more a marathon than a sprint.
The analogy won’t be lost on Morgan Frost, who found out the hard way last season.
Called up from the Phantoms on Nov. 19, the rookie made his debut a memorable one, scoring a goal in his first game at Florida, following that up with another in Game 2 at Carolina.
Then he proceeded to go 16 straight games without scoring before he was sent back to Allentown on Dec. 28.
He played briefly (two games) for the Flyers in February as an injury call up but still no luck.
Fast forward to the 2021 training camp and it’s pretty much a do-over for Frost, whose draft rights were acquired from St. Louis for Brayden Schenn a few years back.
The former first-round pick looks a bit more mature out there and while the Flyers lineup looks pretty set, Frost most likely will make the five- or six-man taxi squad and be around the team for the near future or least until the Phantoms resume play.
Either way, this should be a big year for Frost as he continues to try to prove he belongs in the NHL.
At least having played pretty much a full year in professional hockey should work in his favor.
“Even just having a year under my belt, just the comfortability of knowing what to expect in camp and playing with some of these guys before, I feel stronger and faster and more comfortable,’’ he said during a media Zoom call on Wednesday. “The offseason was good. I think I worked hard. I tried to keep my weight at a point where I liked it and just get stronger and faster. I prepared myself well for the season and I feel good out here.’’
Although he’s spent most of his career at center, Frost is more than willing to move to a wing position if that will speed up his progress toward the NHL.
“I am comfortable with trying to play whatever position they want me to play,’’ the 21-year-old Ontario native said. “I think I’ve obviously played center for most of my life, but I can adapt to wing and whatever gives me a chance to play for this team, I am willing to learn and do.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. I am just trying to go out there and do my best and work as hard as I can and whatever position that falls under is fine with me.’’
The Flyers are pretty much loaded at center, with Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Nolan Patrick and Scott Laughton. So a Frost move to wing might be prudent for now.
“I try not to really focus on that stuff too much,’’ Frost said. “There have been different line combinations every day here. There are a lot of good centers here, but there are also a lot of good wingers, defensemen and goalies too. It is a really strong team, and like I said before, I am just trying to do whatever I can to earn a spot wherever it is at what position.’’
Frost did fine at the AHL level, recording 13 goals, 16 assists for 29 points in 41 games. Now he’s looking to find similar success at the NHL level, whenever that opportunity permits.
>Vigneault raises the bar
With Patrick and Oskar Lindblom back in the fold and skating well so far, coach Alain Vigneault believes the Flyers are ready to take the next step this season.
“The expectations are high, let’s not kid ourselves,’’ Vigneault said. “Our first goal is to get into the playoffs and then we are not in this to win one series. We are in this to win the Stanley Cup. Four series. Sixteen games. We believe that we have a very good team.
“We have a Stanley Cup contending team and we can be if we play to our level and play to our potential. With a healthy Nolan and a healthy Oskar, that adds to the talent of this group. It adds to the depth of this group. Now it is our job to take it one day at a time, one game at a time and play to our full potential. That is on me to get this group to become the best that they can be.’’