VOORHEES, N.J. – When measuring a prospect’s progress, the word patience almost always comes into play.
As it applies to Morgan Frost and where the Flyers’ hopeful stands right now, the waiting game takes even more significance.
Frost, a former first-round draft pick, lost nearly all of last season due to shoulder surgery. Before the injury, it appeared the 22-year-old Ontario native was making headway toward a regular’s job in the NHL.
In a sense, the 2021-22 season is sort of a do-over. He began the year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms but the injury to Kevin Hayes necessitated a callup. Hayes recently returned to the lineup but as that was happening, another forward, Derick Brassard, was injured.
So Frost is sticking around for now and there are signs he’s returned to full strength and ready to resume where he left off back in the 2019-20 campaign. In fact, he scored his first goal of the season the other night in the 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Asked after Saturday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center how crucial this season is to his development, Frost responded: “It’s pretty big. I lost all of last year and I want to make a statement. Most importantly, I just want to be an NHL player. Whatever I can do to stay up here, hopefully solidify a role I want to do, am willing to do.’’
Has he played enough games with the Phantoms and Flyers to get back close to where he was before the injury?
“I think it was probably the right decision for me to go down there (the Phantoms) first,’’ Frost said. “Lappy (Phantoms coach Ian Laperriere) gave me a ton of ice time, playing all situations. I think those first couple games down there weren’t my best. As I played more and got more comfortable, I think my game started to pick up. I think it’s close to where I want it to be. I feel good, I’m confident, healthy and I want to make a statement.’’
The Flyers have always had faith in Frost, going all the way back to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft when then-GM Ron Hextall made a controversial trade with St. Louis, sending top-six forward Brayden Schenn to the Blues and insisting the No. 1 pick to be used on Frost be included in the deal.
Now it’s Philadelphia’s hope Frost has finally arrived. When Brassard returns, it will be interesting to see where Frost fits into the lineup if he remains with the Flyers.
>Third time a charm vs. Bolts?
The Flyers have already lost twice to Tampa Bay in the past month and get another crack at the Lightning on Sunday night.
While the upcoming schedule (five games in seven nights) looks brutal, coach Alain Vigneault wants to focus on one game at a time.
“For now I’m going to talk about the urgency of winning tomorrow night’s game,’’ Vigneault said. “We need to win a game here. This has been a challenging time for everyone. To win a game, our guys have to play some solid hockey, we have to kill (penalties), we need to do what we have to do with the puck and score enough goals to be successful.’’
The three-day break, which included two uptempo practices, certainly should prevent the Flyers from making too many excuses.
“We’ve had two very good practices,’’ Vigneault said. “Guys should be feeling good about themselves. I’m not looking at the five (games) in seven (nights) stretch, although that’s in the back of my mind. But the urgency to win is way above that.’’
The Flyers have been unsuccessful in nine straight games (0-5-4) vs. Tampa Bay dating back to December, 2017, and as mentioned, two of those setbacks have come in the past month.
“Nothing changes from that team,’’ Vigneault said. “They’ve got some high-end players, great goaltending and we’re catching them on back-to-back nights (Tampa played Boston on Saturday) so I assume we’re going to see the other goalie (ex-Flyer Brian Elliott). To go up against them, you have to have your team playing the right way.’’
Carter Hart will start in goal for the Flyers.
>Farabee status updated
Joel Farabee, who suffered a shoulder injury in the Rangers game, will continue to be listed as week-to-week, a prognosis which usually means long-term.
According to Vigneault, Farabee will not require surgery.