VOORHEES, N.J. – Apparently someone named Mr. “Fate’’ has decided Morgan Frost’s road to the NHL is not going to be an easy one.
There was the 20-game trial with the Flyers two seasons back when he scored goals in his first two NHL games, then went 18 games without one and wound up back in the minors.
Last season, the schedule wasn’t two weeks old when Sean Couturier suffered a serious rib injury and Frost was called up from the Phantoms. That bit of opportunity lasted only a game and a half before Frost went down with a major shoulder injury of his own which would require season-ending surgery.
This season, maybe a visitor who goes by Mr. “Goodluck’’ will intervene and give the popular center/wing a break and let him stick with the big team for a while.
Last season had to be frustrating, right?
“It definitely wasn’t fun,’’ Frost said after the first day of the Flyers’ development camp at the Skate Zone on Sunday. “I worked really hard and trained hard to make the team. I was really excited that I did make the team and I was getting an opportunity to play. It was real tough timing and pretty unfortunate. I’m glad with the procedure I went through because it’s not going to happen again. Now it feels pretty strong. One tough year, but looking to bounce back this year. I think I’m ready to go.’’
The 2017 first-round pick (27th overall) has been touted as a future Flyer since his draft rights were acquired from St. Louis in the Brayden Schenn trade.
Ultimately, he should crack this team’s lineup, as long as he can stay in one piece.
“I feel really good,’’ Frost said. “I kind of got through the rehab part of my shoulder and then it was more just about strengthening it a little bit. I think I’m very close. I feel ready. I’m confident. I feel confident that I can go into battles, take hits, and play physical with it. I’m fully confident. I think I just have a little bit more rehab to go to make sure that it’s fully 100 percent for the future.’’
When regular training camp opens here next month, Frost should be ready to go. He did his rehab here up until May after his season was cut short in January.
“I stayed until the very end of the season, that was mostly rehab and I was just trying to get motion back on my shoulder,’’ he said. “Towards the end, like the last month of the season, I started skating, no contact or anything, but just trying to get a little feel back. As the summer went on, I just started getting more confident and confident with that every day. I’m fully good to go now.’’
All that said, no one is going to hand Frost a spot on the roster. The Flyers’ recent signing of veteran center Derick Brassard along with some other candidates could make for some tough competition for Frost.
“There’s going to be a lot of guys coming in and out within the organization,’’ Frost said. “I’m just focused on myself, what work I need to put in and what I need to do to make the team.
The Flyers still have faith in Frost and believe he can be a regular in the NHL. It’s just a matter of getting the chance to prove it.
“Everyday here is an exciting opportunity,’’ Frost said. “It’s the best league in the world. To get a chance, even just to be on the ice with guys like that, is really special. It’s nice to be out there, but also have the confidence in yourself that I can be one of these guys, too. I think there’s been a lot of great role models and people that I can look up to within the organization. I’m striving to be one of those people moving forward.’’
In the brief two-game stint before the shoulder injury, Frost got some playing time on a top line with Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom. Coach Alain Vigneault showed he had confidence in Frost’s ability.
“With Morgan, I think he deserves this opportunity, to play with TK and Oskar,’’ Vigneault said at the time. “What went into our decision also, we feel like the other lines are building some chemistry. Morgan is considered to be a skilled offensive player.’’
If only Mr. Fate hadn’t stepped in. But now maybe Mr. Goodluck can make an appearance and give the young player a fair chance.