VOORHEES, N.J. – There were times last season when Morgan Frost played really well.
But there were times when he didn’t.
Clearly, the latter occasions involved what might best be described as miscommunication with coach John Tortorella. Understandably, the two men were going through their first season together on the Flyers and it just took awhile to get on the same page.
By the end of the season, Frost, a lefty shooting center, seemed more on track and finished up with a commendable 19 goals and a respectable minus-3.
This season, a number of players – including Frost – have said the lines of communication are much better. Frost has a good handle on what Tortorella wants and the coach admits that knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of each player will help get messages through a lot quicker and a lot better.
“I think it kind of helps everyone find their game a little easier,” Frost said after a workout session at the Flyers Training Center as the team prepares for its season opener on Thursday in Columbus. “Because you know what he’s looking for and what he expects.
“You know, I think a lot of last year was figuring out how he wants us to play, certain plays you can make and can’t make. I think our whole team is better prepared this year than last year just because we know what to expect. Everyone’s ready to go and fired up to play.”
If you count the shortened 2020-21 season (due to the pandemic), this will be Frost’s fifth season in the NHL. He was a first-round draft pick (27th overall) way back in 2017. It’s just taken a little longer than some players to finally establish himself as a regular in the big show.
“The way that I play the game, for a long time, it’s going to be me trying to figure out that balance,” the 24-year-old Frost said. “Managing risk/reward. Like I said, I think I’m more prepared for it this year. I know what I’m capable of and what he (Tortorella) wants to see out of me.
“So that makes my job easier. I think last year was an unreal learning experience for me. There were lots of ups and downs. I think I started out pretty poorly, finished a lot better. I learned a lot from ‘Torts’ and the coaching staff. I’m excited to play for them again.”
Getting first-liners Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson back in the lineup after both missed last season due to back surgeries should help players such as Frost and fellow center Noah Cates. These two won’t have quite as much two-way responsibilities as they did last year.
“We might not be relied on as much,” Frost agreed. “Even off the ice, just having their voices in the room. And they’re such good players on the ice, both so reliable, it kind of takes a load off everyone in the lineup.
“I think that will help us find a lot more balance and everyone will know what their role is. I think we’re a lot deeper with those guys in the lineup and I believe we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
While everything might be getting progressively better, Frost is not taking anything for granted. No one can afford to take time off with Tortorella skating around the practice ice with that loud whistle close by.
“I finished pretty well last year but you don’t want to come in just expecting you’re going to do that again without working hard or earning the ice time,” Frost said.
“But at the same time I do want to come in with the same confidence I finished the year with. That’s what is going to help me play that way again. Just build off the way the year ended and keep going.”
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