Is this the year Morgan Frost finally makes an impact on the Flyers’ fortunes?
People ask because it’s been an up-and-down career so far for the 23-year-old centerman from Aurora, Ontario, Canada.
His draft rights were acquired in the 2017 trade which sent Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues and there were high hopes for Frost from the get-go.
But a series of injuries, including one which required shoulder surgery and ended his season after just two games two years ago, have derailed his progress.
At first glance, the numbers look disappointing. He’s played 77 NHL games and scored only seven goals.
Meanwhile, he’s played 65 games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and connected for 19 goals.
Can he find a way to make those goal numbers somehow match up?
Toward the end of last season, Frost showed some signs of a real breakthrough. Placed on a “Kid Line’’ with Noah Cates and Owen Tippett, Frost started to generate consistent scoring chances.
That’s why he’s optimistic about the upcoming campaign.
“It was kind of a new-found confidence at the end of the year,’’ Frost said. “I still feel as if I need to prove myself to be on the team but at the same time I feel like I’m comfortable in this situation, that I’m an NHL player.
“I think just that mindset can make a huge difference in terms of confidence on the ice and even off the ice. It was a good summer and I’m excited to get out there.’’
It’s been a rocky road to say the least. There have been the injuries, then the pandemic along with several coaching changes.
“I had the (shoulder injury) my second year,’’ he said. “Now I’ve had a full year (55 games with the Flyers last season), kind of a fresh start, I’m healthy. I’m excited for the challenge.’’
The plan for the preseason is pretty simple.
“Prove that I belong in the NHL,’’ he said. “I want to make a statement, I don’t just want to be on the team, I want to be a difference-maker. I want to contribute in different situations. Kind of someone who gets relied upon. Hopefully do that in camp and carry it into the season.”
One area Frost has been working on is his shot. He’s never going to be mistaken for Alex Ovechkin but he wants to be at least above average.
“Just by getting stronger over the summer you can improve in those areas,’’ he said. “I think at the end of the year I started to shoot a little bit more. I may not have the hardest shot on the team but when you’re shooting the puck in the right areas, eventually it’s going to go in.
“I got stronger and I don’t feel as reluctant to shoot the puck. Hopefully some of them will start going in.’’