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2019-20 Player Review: Morgan Frost makes the jump

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A top prospect gets a look with the big club.

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flyers had a handful of prospects make their NHL debuts this season, and few came into those debuts with greater hype than Morgan Frost. After a pretty stellar final season in the OHL, expectations were high for Frost’s first professional season, and overall, it’s one we can come away from feeling good about. He did some solid work in the AHL, and as a reward for it, earned a look up with the Flyers and a chance to prove that he’s not as far away from NHL as some of his detractors might have you believe. And how did he do? Well, we’re here to talk about just that.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
20 2 5 7 4 26 3.85%

Overall, not too bad of figures in this first group here. Frost was given a respectable role, averaging 13.67 minutes per game in all situations, and was able to find a bit of a scoring touch, as he picked up a pair of goals and was able to set up a handful for him teammates.

There is some room for improvement here, though. Only one of Frost’s goals came at 5-on-5, and we didn’t see him shooting a ton (though it was enough to make for a low shooting percentage). In some ways it makes sense, we do know Frost as being more of a set-up player than a pure shooter. But, that said, we don’t want him to stray too drastically away from his game, but would like to see him shooting a bit more.

Also, the low penalty minute total is a nice thing to see—Frost still does have some work to do to continue to get adjusted to playing at the NHL level, but what we didn’t see was him struggling so mightily with the pace of play that he got caught taking a bunch of grabby penalties or stick infractions, as he was trying to force things and bring play to himself, rather than being able to keep up with the level and pace wholly.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
51.55 -0.51 48.66 -1.95 46.15 0.988

5v5 Individual Stats

Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0.28 1.67 13.38 0.71

As we’ve noted with some of these early season reviews, we’re working with some smaller sample sizes in terms of the games played. The 20 game mark is just about when we start to feel more comfortable determining some trends based on the numbers, but only just. So we’ll keep that in mind as we look at these.

All in all, these underlying numbers aren’t too bad, even if they are a bit of a mixed bag. The Flyers did tend to get the better of the shot attempt share when Frost was on the ice, but lost the edge in more dangerous chances and goals. His shot relative shot impacts are low, but not to a large degree. And his individual shot impacts are fine, not stellar but fine. We’d like to see these numbers improve a bit, but for a 20 year old in his first stretch of games at the NHL level, they seem a fine enough foundation, nothing to be too fussed about.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?

This probably varies depending on who you ask—as there were some pretty astronomical expectations for Frost for some coming into the season—but for someone who had more moderate expectations, it does feel like he met them. For me, I expected that he would need some time in the AHL to develop and get adjusted to playing at the professional level, but figured that, with how skilled he is, there was a good chance that we saw him get a look with the Flyers at one point or another, and that’s exactly what happened. It wasn’t a perfect season for him, but there was a lot to like, and overall, he handled the jump to the next level well, as he remained one of the Phantoms’ best forwards on the season, and showed pretty clearly that he can already hang at the NHL level, even if he’s still developing.

What do we expect from this player next season?

This remains a little bit up in the air, depending on whether Nolan Patrick is good to go to start the season, but I do expect that either way, Frost is going to get a legitimate shot at making the team out of camp. There certainly still are some pieces of his game that need a bit of smoothing out, but Frost is just so talented, and it feels hard to believe that if he comes in and just has a stellar camp and pre-season (whenever those happen and whatever they look like), that the Flyers will still air so heavily on the side of caution that they send him down to the AHL no matter what he does. But, that said, I do think it’s fair to assume that Frost is going to spend some time down with the Phantoms, as the Flyers have alluded to wanting him to work out some of the kinks in his game down there, and he should be given a lot of minutes and a great chance to do just that. But also, with how he was trending and the fact that we’ve already seen him make positive impacts at the NHL level, we shouldn’t expect that he spends all of the season down in the AHL. It’ll likely be a split, and Frost doesn’t seem far away from a full time job in the NHL.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

One piece, to start, is that we’d like to see him continue to work to get a bit bigger and stronger. We don’t want to see him go too far, where bulk comes at the expense of speed, but adding a bit more size would help him as he continues to adjust to playing against grown men. Nothing major, but something.

The big pieces, though, are ones that we’d like to see him working on both at the AHL and NHL levels, actually, and those are puck management and consistency. We know Frost is a tremendously skilled and creative player, and that’s what makes him both unique and a lot of fun to watch. But this also means that, as he’s still adjusting to playing at the professional level, sometimes he can get caught trying to do too much at the wrong time, and get himself into some trouble. Sometimes he’s making the right calls, but it isn’t always there. Now, the last thing we want to see is him over-adjusting and stripping away the good creativity in favor of playing a much safer game, because then he really loses a lot of, well, his game. Rather, it’s just going to be a matter of him adjusting to the pace and defending, learning the situations, and getting a bit better at choosing his spots to make The Fancy Play. There’s certainly a way to play creatively and responsibility, and next season we’d just like to see him move closer to finding that sweet spot.