NEWARK, N.J. – Morgan Frost has been scratched for nine games already this season and while he may have gotten the message, his offense still needs some work.
Going into Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers center had just three goals and eight points in 20 games. The one positive: A plus-six. So at least he’s not a defensive liability.
“It’s been a little bit of up and down considering the start of the year,” he said prior to the game at the Prudential Center. “I feel like I’ve grown my game. Once I got out of that little rut, in terms of what was happening with me, I feel a lot better about myself.”
Frost was scratched six straight games early on and some of that had to do with the competition for jobs. With rookies Bobby Brink and Tyson Foerster making the roster, plus newcomer Ryan Poehling joining the team at center, things suddenly got tight on the Flyers’ four lines.
“I feel I’m playing a lot better, contributing at both ends of the ice,” said Frost, who’s been playing as high as the second line. “I think now it’s just about putting up some points.”
Frost did finish with 19 goals and 46 points last season and seemed to fit better into coach John Tortorella’s style of play.
“There have been talks here and there,” Frost said. “If I felt maybe he felt there was a major issue, that (a long talk) would probably happen. Obviously a tough start to the year but I kind of understood what was happening. I just decided to keep quiet, put my head down and work through it. Now we’re here.”
Frost seems to do some of his best work when he wings it a little bit. Right now it’s about finding a happy medium between sticking strictly to the game plan and being a little creative.
“I think I play my best when I’m playing a little looser,” he said. “Not too loose but having fun out there, doing my thing. The whole year I’m just trying to have a clear head space. Try not to overthink things too much. Just do whatever I can to help the team win. Not focus where I’m at individually.”
Some chats with teammates such as Cam York have helped the process.
“There were numerous guys when I was in and out of the lineup,” Frost said. “When I was getting scratched, they were talking to me. I feel like over the course of my career, I feel like I’ve built my mental game a lot and feel a lot stronger about that.
“All that helps. It’s great when older guys can kind of chip in and help you when you need it. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve matured a lot and can handle it.”
The returns of Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson have helped with Frost’s game.
“It helps when you have some of the veteran guys in there,” Frost said. “I think he (Tortorella) trusts those guys (in crucial situations) and if I can get to that level or even a small part of that, it’s good for me and hopefully good for the team.”
Tortorella doesn’t beat around the bush when assessing Frost’s play.
“I think Frosty’s been inconsistent but he’s doing better now,” Tortorella said. “The past couple weeks he’s been more consistent. He’s made some plays on our power play, we haven’t cashed in but he’s made more plays there.
“He’s done some decent things away from the puck. Also, he’s getting a few more minutes here and there. We need him to score some goals. If he’s going to be in this league, he’s going to have to score goals. He’s had some opportunities, we need to see him finish.”
>Hart out again
With Tuesday night’s holiday roster freeze approaching, the Flyers returned forward Olle Lycksell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and called up forward Rhett Gardner and goaltender Cal Petersen.
Petersen backed up starting goaltender Samuel Ersson for the Devils game as regular starter Carter Hart remained sidelined by an ongoing stomach ailment.