The 2017 NHL Entry Draft lottery was quite the historical night for your Philadelphia Flyers. With just a 2.4% chance of leap-frogging 11 teams to the second overall pick, the lottery balls fell just the right way and Nolan Patrick fell right into the organization’s lap. Patrick was considered to be the consensus number one overall pick right up until his draft year was derailed by injuries requiring multiple core muscle surgeries, which allowed current New Jersey Devil center Nico Hischier to steal the spotlight.
With the revelation of drafting a legitimate, seemingly NHL-ready top-six center with the second overall pick, there was one player in the lineup who became expendable. On June 23, 2017 Ron Hextall traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for their 2017 first round pick (27th overall), 2018 first round pick, and everyone’s favorite “Jorald”, Jori Lehtera. Schenn never seemed to find a comfortable spot in the lineup at even strength with the Flyers, so drafting Patrick enabled Hextall to move him for a steep price.
And with that 27th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Philadelphia Flyers were proud to select, from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds: Morgan Frost.
No. 6: Morgan Frost
Age: 19 (5/14/1999)
Size: 5’11”, 172 (via)
Acquired Via: 2017 NHL Draft — Round 1, Pick 27 (Pick acquired from St. Louis along with a first-round pick in 2018 and Jori Lehtera in exchange for Brayden Schenn on June 23, 2017)
2017-18 League/Team/Statistics: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) - 42 G, 70 A in 67 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2018 25 Under 25: 10
2017-18 Regular Season and Playoffs
It has been just over one year since Frost’s selection and he has since been on quite the rise. Frost was seen as a late riser during his draft year and many looked at the pick as a bit of a reach by general manager Ron Hextall. Frost, according to NHL Central Scouting, was the 31st ranked North American skater in his class and was projected to go in the mid-to-late second round. Something caught the eye of Ron Hextall and his scouts, so - much like 2014 first round reach Travis Sanheim - Hextall saw fit to take a chance on the play-making center. With the selection of Nolan Patrick at number two overall, the Flyers were poised to take on a project like Frost who needed to add size to his frame while continuing his development in the OHL.
Fast-forward one year and Frost has continued his rise as one of the top prospects in the Flyers’ organization. He has sky-rocketed up 10 spots from number 16 in our 2017 25 Under 25 rankings all the way to number six and for good reason. Frost has seen quite the progression in not just his raw point totals, but his underlying metrics as well, which is something that can’t be understated when it comes to prospects developing and growing their game. Progression is key and Frost has exemplified just that in his third season with the Soo. Let’s take a quick look at his statistics over the course of his three junior seasons.
Morgan Frost - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 2015-2018
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The numbers speak for themselves. From 2016-17 to 2017-18, Frost more than doubled his goal totals, nearly doubled his assist totals, and shattered his per-game numbers when it came to his raw points. What led to such a dramatic increase in production? If we look at Frost’s ability to get to the high-danger areas of the ice, we can see why his point totals spiked this past season. While his medium-danger shots dipped slightly, he was much more effective at getting into high-danger areas and his shooting percentage benefited greatly.
Because Frost was so proficient at getting to high-danger areas with the puck on his stick, he was also able to create space and time for his teammates, which ultimately led to 77.68% of his points being primary points. Frost has always been noted for his smooth skating, excellent edges, and intelligent play-making and hockey sense, and was seemingly able to put all of the pieces together this year for the Greyhounds. There is something to be said about this, as the OHL is generally considered to be the most complete of the Canadian junior hockey leagues. His season was so impressive right from the start that during our midterm review of the 25 Under 25, Frost jumped from number 16 to number 10.
So, how did these gaudy numbers stack up against his peers? For players who played 40 or more games in the OHL for the 2017-18 regular season, Frost ranked 1st in primary points, 2nd in total points, 11th in shooting percentage, and 3rd in primary points per game and total points per game. What’s even more impressive? Frost is a full year younger than Jordan Kyrou who led the the league in points per game and is two full years younger than Aaron Luchuk who was second.
Here is a great example of the complete package Morgan Frost will soon bring to the NHL:
WATCH THIS: @9Cmackay’s 1️⃣st @OHLHoundPower rookie takes a @_morganfrost_10 pass and buries his first of the post-season for a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of Game 6 on @Sportsnet 360.#OHLChampionship #SSMvsHAM pic.twitter.com/cXvHZQcagE— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) May 13, 2018
First, notice how Frost uses his edges to make a quick transition on the rush as his teammate carries the puck up the ice. Next up, Frost displays his quickness as he separates himself from the play and gets to an open area where he can take a feed through the center of the neutral zone. Frost then uses his deceptive stick work to get off a quick snap shot low on the ice to the short side. The shot misses the net, but was close enough to pull the goaltender into his butterfly setup and track the puck to his right side, pulling him out of position. Frost then uses his smarts to follow the play, get behind the defense and retrieve his shot that bounces off the end boards knowing he has a teammate coming through the slot to accept a pass. He gathers the puck and feeds it across the slot with a beautiful pass right to a teammates stick who buries it for a goal.
Looking for some more highlights?
A closer look at @NHLFlyers prospect @_morganfrost_10 who went from first round pick to 112 points for top ranked @OHLHoundPower.— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) April 11, 2018
Feature via #CHL on @Sportsnet: pic.twitter.com/C8ZBJ4VK9U
Frost followed up a stellar regular season with a strong post-season as well. While he didn’t have quite the impact most were hoping for, he was still able to score 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in just 24 games. He helped lead his team to a first round sweep of the Saginaw Spirit, second and third round victories over the Owen Sound and Kitchener Rangers, until ultimately bowing out in the fourth round to the eventual OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs.
Summer of 2018
Frost’s impressive 2017-18 campaign may have ended, but the young prospect continued to turn heads throughout the summer. There has been one knock against Frost since the Aurora, Ontario native was drafted, and that knock is his size. Upon being drafted, Frost weighed in at around 170 lbs, so it was evident that Frost would need to add muscle to his 5’11” frame in order to make an impact at the NHL level. According to Tom Dougherty at NBC Sports, Frost did just that.
Frost stood by his stall Thursday after the first day of the Flyers’ 2018 development camp not only one year older but also noticeably more mature physically...the 2017 first-round pick had gained nine pounds. He finished the 2017-18 campaign at 175 pounds but came to Voorhees weighing 184.
Of course, it’s one thing to put on weight and muscle, but another to maintain that weight and know how to use it effectively. Frost will have to continue growing and maturing physically and this means using his skill in conjunction with the addition of thickness he’s added to seriously fight for a spot in the NHL. Ron Hextall was very clear about Frost needing to continue to physically mature and as of right now, he is not a shoo-in for the third line center vacancy. However, Frost brought his newly acquired muscle to the 2018 development camp and impressed mightily, showing an ability to win battles against bigger players and couple that with his high-end skill and smarts.
Morgan Frost is a phenomenal playmaker and this clip from yesterday’s #Flyers development camp 3v3 tourney displays that. He outmuscles the bigger Carsen Twarynski, draws two defenders to him, and slides a perfect pass to a teammate pic.twitter.com/WFcVA6eNNU— Dan Silver (@dsilver88) July 3, 2018
Following development camp, Frost headed to Kamploops, British Columbia to take part in the World Junior Summer Showcase for team Canada. Unfortunately, the results weren’t quite what we had hoped they would be. Granted, Frost only saw action in five games for one of two Canadian teams and was juggled throughout the lineup for each game. In those five games, Frost post one goal for one point and certainly showed flashes of brilliance, but did not show much consistency. Again, he never had a secure spot in the lineup and didn’t see much powerplay time, so a five-game stint in August should have no cause for concern when it comes to Frost and his development.
What to expect from Frost during 2018-19
All indications point towards Frost heading back to the Soo for one final season of junior hockey. This is not set in stone, as Frost will have a chance to fight for the aforementioned 3C spot vacated by Valterri Filppula, but the competition will be fierce. If Frost is going to make it to the NHL for the 2018-19 season, he is going to have to absolutely blows the doors off of his competition throughout training camp and pre-season. Names like Scott Laughton, Mikhail Vorobyev, and Jordan Weal will have something to say about this. However, with the news on Wednesday about Sean Couturier’s knee injury, Frost should get an extended look during pre-season action at the center role. This should open up the door slightly for him to make a case to stay with the orange and black for the 2018-19 season, but Flyers assistant GM Chris Pryor led us to believe Frost would be headed back to juniors.
Morgan, you’re going to have to go back to the Sault and be the best player he can be, represent that team best you can, try to make the (Canada) World Junior team. There’s some challenges and he’s got to prove himself. We’re all happy with his year last year, but that’s last year. This is this year.
In the likely event that Frost does go back to juniors, we should expect to see another dominant season from the 19 year old. The Greyhounds should once again be one of the more overpowering teams in the OHL with the likes of 2018 5th overall pick Barrett Hayton returning, as well as strong prospects such as Taylor Raddysh and Rasmus Sandin. The Soo will have one of the best 1-2 punches up the middle in Frost and Hayton, so another deep run into the playoffs should be expected. Being one year older and adding size to his frame, it’s fair to expect Frost to continue his dominance in Ontario.
One bright spot should Frost head back to the CHL for the upcoming season is the opportunity for him to play in the World Junior Championship for team Canada. Currently, Frost is not seen as a lock to make the team, but what he does in the first part of this season will determine his status for the renown tournament chock full of young stars. This will give us a better inclination as to where exactly Frost is in his development while playing against peers of elite talent. However, it is quite odd that Frost isn’t yet seen as a lock to make this team. With having such a dominant showing in the most competitive of the Canadian junior leagues, one would think that Frost is a guarantee to not just crack the lineup, but play an important role for the team. However, doubters remain unconvinced.
Frost’s path to making an impact in the NHL could follow an eerily similar trajectory to that of Flyers captain Claude Giroux. After being drafted in 2006, Giroux went on to score 112 points in 63 games (1.78 P/PG) during his draft-plus-one year (notice the connection?), but was left off of the Canadian World Junior team despite having such a strong start to this 2006-07 campaign. The following season, Giroux spent another year in juniors and scored 106 points in 55 games (1.93 P/PG) and finally got a shot to play for Canada at the WJC where he won the gold medal and scored six points in seven games. He then followed up his regular season with a monster post-season, netting a whopping 51 points in 19 playoff games for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. Let me be clear here, as I’m not saying that Frost is the next Giroux. However, Giroux was overlooked early on his career largely due to his size, but was able to prove the doubters wrong and become an elite player in the NHL (even if the overlooking continues and he’s snubbed for Olympic rosters and Hart trophies).
Could Frost be headed in the same direction? He certainly proved that he has the skill and smarts to make an impact on the ice, but questions are still circling whether or not he can make the transition to the NHL at this point in his development. In just a few short weeks training camp and pre-season will be underway and Frost will have the opportunity to show management whether or not he has what it takes to make an impact on this team right now. Either way, we should be excited for what’s to come from Morgan Frost in the 2018-19 campaign, wherever that may be.
How We Voted For Morgan Frost
How We Voted At No. 6
|Scott Laughton||Morgan Frost||Oskar Lindblom||Philippe Myers||Carter Hart||Morgan Frost||Philippe Myers||Oskar Lindblom||Carter Hart||Oskar Lindblom||Carter Hart||Philippe Myers||Morgan Frost||Travis Sanheim||Morgan Frost|
How The Community Voted For Morgan Frost
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Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25:
- Intro & Honorable Mentions
- No. 25: Noah Cates
- No. 24: Mark Friedman
- No. 23: Danick Martel
- No. 22: Matthew Strome
- No. 21: Taylor Leier
- No. 20: Nicolas Aube-Kubel
- No. 19: Felix Sandstrom
- No. 18: Tanner Laczynski
- No. 17: Jay O’Brien
- No. 16: Samuel Morin
- No. 15: Isaac Ratcliffe
- No. 14: German Rubtsov
- No. 13: Mikhail Vorobyev
- No. 12: Wade Allison
- No. 11: Robert Hagg
- No. 10: Joel Farabee
- No. 9: Scott Laughton
- No. 8: Oskar Lindblom
- No. 7: Philippe Myers