VOORHEES, N.J. – It’s been a long journey for Morgan Frost but he’s hoping the trip ends here.
Drafted way back in 2017, the 23-year-old center has been taking two strides forward, one stride back for the past five years.
But as the 2022-23 season is about to unfold, it looks like he finally might be establishing himself as a bona fide NHL player.
Given the uncertainty of Sean Couturier’s health, Frost even might wind up as the Flyers’ No. 2 center behind Kevin Hayes.
It could all come down to whether Frost can up his offensive production. In 55 games with the Flyers last season, he registered just five goals/16 points.
One thing Frost has going for him is good health. He missed almost the entire 2020-21 season due to shoulder surgery and that also bothered him somewhat last year.
Now, however, he feels healthy again and that should help his confidence.
“I have a lot more confidence in battles, for sure,’’ he said after Friday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center. “Like I don’t feel like I’m being outmuscled as much, (relying on) my instincts or my stick as much.
“Just my shoulder being fully healed again back to a hundred percent helps on the draws. I’m even going into faceoffs not mentally thinking about the shoulder. The big thing for me has always been the stuff away from the puck.’’
That’s something coach John Tortorella emphasized in his comments about Frost’s progress.
“He can make plays,’’ the coach said. “He’s a smart player, thinks the game well. I watch his play away from the puck. I harp on keep giving me something there and I’ll let him play offensively. If he’s in our lineup, it will probably be with better players than parts of camp.’’
One thing Frost has been working on is his shot.
“It’s better,’’ Frost said. “It’s never been quite my calling card. It’s more just having a shot-first mentality. Sometimes any shot is a good shot. If I’m getting the chances, hopefully some of them will go in.’’
If Frost can get off to a decent start, he might just stick around for the season. That’s always been the dream.
“That’s my mindset for sure,’’ he said. “It’s been a long road. “I don’t just want to be on the team, I want to be here and make a difference.
“It’s probably the biggest year of my career.’’
Does any pressure come with that?
“I think there’s been a decent amount of pressure since I’ve been here,’’ he said. “Sometimes it hasn’t gone my way, sometimes it has. I think it’s just having a clear head and not overthinking things. Just come in, have fun, that’s when I think I play my best.’’
>Anisimov still in the mix
Although playing on a tryout contract and still recovering from an injury, Artem Anisimov remains in the Flyers’ plans, according to Tortorella.
The coach said Anisimov “thinks the game well, works hard’’ and shows flashes of when the two were together with the New York Rangers about a decade ago.
It might just come down to whether the Russian’s 34-year-old legs will hold up over the long haul. The fact he’s a veteran center can’t hurt, though, considering the Flyers are short in the pivot spot at the moment.