VOORHEES, N.J. – Morgan Frost has been up and down this road enough times to know he certainly doesn’t need to ask “Siri’’ for directions.
Less than a week after he wasn’t recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms post-NHL All-Star break, Frost was back on the ice at the Flyers Training Center on Monday.
All this Pennsylvania Turnpike/Northeast Extension business is nothing new for the 2017 first-round draft pick. He’s shuttled back and forth the past few years, some of it related to injury, some of it tied to performance.
The most recent trip to Allentown was perceived by many as a disappointing demotion. Frost has played pretty well at times in 26 NHL games this season but there have been occasions when his play looks a bit uninspired.
In total, Frost has played 20 NHL games in 2019-20 and two in 2020-21 (limited due to season-ending shoulder surgery) for a total of 48.
That’s a pretty good sample of work. And it’s not like the Flyers have a veteran lineup headed for a playoff spot. Right now they’re missing Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis, Derick Brassard, Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee and Wade Allison among others.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo plans to have Frost back in the lineup on Tuesday night when the Flyers visit the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Frost is penciled in to play on the third line with Max Willman and a to-be-determined right wing.
In keeping Frost with the Phantoms, general manager Chuck Fletcher said last week he wanted Frost to get more minutes in all situations. Will he get the same treatment here?
“I think he’s earning more and more opportunities,’’ Yeo said of Frost’s previous tenure in Philly. “His play was continuing to progress. I think that’s the biggest thing. I like the way he was going into the break. His competitive level was improved over a week or two before.’’
When he’s on top of his game, Frost can be effective player. But the fact is, he has only four goals in those 48 games, which probably keeps him off the top two lines.
>Brassard back on the shelf
After playing just one game in two months, Derick Brassard (hip injury) made his return in last Wednesday’s game against Detroit.
The comeback lasted all of one match.
Brassard, complaining of stiffness and soreness, did not play in Saturday’s rematch at the Motor City and Yeo said that absence might last awhile.
“Obviously there’s still an issue there,’’ Yeo said. “Just talking to the medical staff today, there’s reasons there is still soreness. We’ve taken weeks of skating to try to get to that position (to play on a regular basis).’’
The veteran center had said he was optimistic he was finally past the problem which first cropped up in early December.
“He will be out tomorrow,’’ Yeo said. “I think the plan is he will be out until we feel more confident that the strength can fully be there that we can keep him in the lineup.’’
>Brown, Hayes skate
Brown (knee) and Hayes (adductor) both skated on Monday but their return dates are still unclear.
“It’s still early but it’s a good time to get them back,’’ Yeo said. “For Hayes, the timeline is still the same. We’re looking at him continuing to skate toward that March 1 date when we can make a determination whether he will be ready to play or not.’’
For Brown, the injury is pretty much healed and now it’s just a matter of conditioning.
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (upper-body injury) remains on the sidelines as well.
Gerry Mayhew, who suffered a fairly serious facial cut from a crash into the boards in Saturday’s game, still has prominent swelling around his eye and the Flyers are waiting to see if there’s improvement.
“Still hopeful he’s going to play tomorrow night,’’ Yeo said. “He was off the ice today basically because his eye is swollen. It has gotten better. Hopefully it progresses by tomorrow and he’s able to play.’’
Yeo was asked about Claude Giroux’s current situation with the team. The NHL trade deadline is coming up on March 21 and there is speculation the Flyers will entertain trade offers if Giroux were to waive the no-movement clause in his contract.
“Even talking to him at practice and how difficult this is, in so many different ways for a guy like ‘G’. . .first, he’s a guy who played his butt off last game,’’ Yeo said. “We still come up short, lose the game. I can see the disappointment, the frustration. It’s very discouraging but yet I have full confidence he’s going to go out there and do the same thing (play hard) again the next game.’’
By all accounts, Giroux is fully invested in this year’s team. But at the end of the day, he has to do what’s best for his career and its future.
“He cares very much about this organization,’’ Yeo said. “The fact that we’re struggling right now, he takes that very personally. So that’s difficult. You add on the stress, the uncertainty of what’s to come. You can just tell the way he plays, night after night. The way he acts as a professional, in the dressing room, on the ice, he’s committed.’’