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2019-20 Philadelphia Flyers prospect review: Morgan Frost

*insert Frost warning joke here*

Heather Barry / SB Nation

This is it, folks! We’ve reached the end of the line! We’ve made it through all of our prospects who were with the Phantoms this season, and we have just one more player to talk about. Morgan Frost, hello!

After a stellar final season with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, Frost came into his first AHL season with quite a bit of buzz around him. Expectations were high, so high that it would have been understandable to wonder if it was fair to expect so much from the kid in the first place. But, in the end, Frost didn’t disappoint, and had himself a really strong rookie season, so strong in fact that it wasn’t even a full season with the Phantoms, as he earned himself an extended look up with the Flyers. But a solid run it still was with the Phantoms—let’s talk about it.

By the numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM SOG SH%
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM SOG SH%
41 13 16 29 20 90 14.4

First, we’ll dip into these scoring numbers, and folks, they’re very good. And maybe you look at 29 points in 41 games and feel good but not great about that, but context is pretty important here. We know that scoring was way down on the team level this season, and Frost’s 29 points were good for second in overall team scoring, ranking him behind just Greg Carey, who ended the season with one more point and 16 more games played. He also proved to be very consistent in his scoring contributions, as the longest he ever went without a point was three games, and that’s nice to see.

If we wanted to nitpick, we could point out that the shooting percentage is a bit higher than average—not astronomical, but a bit high. So we might expect for that to regress a bit and have that affect future scoring rates, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the shooting percentage didn’t come down too much, just because Frost does have a very good shot. We’ll see what happens.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi For Corsi Against Corsi For% Corsi For% Relative Scoring Chances For% Goals For Goals Against Goals For%
Corsi For Corsi Against Corsi For% Corsi For% Relative Scoring Chances For% Goals For Goals Against Goals For%
412 394 51.12 4.1 50.14 20 19 51.28

It seems like we’ve made note with just about all of the rookies we’ve talked about so far that we aren’t terribly fussed about them not being very strong in their shot impacts because having all of the details come together right away to allow them to be strong play drivers is really a big ask, and it shouldn’t reflect poorly on them if the transition isn’t immediate. But, all that said, this wasn’t the case with Frost at all.

In both the shot attempt and scoring chance differentials, he’s not only above breakeven, which is good in and of itself, he’s well above the team averages. The Phantoms were still getting buried in high danger chances when Frost was on the ice, but his 47.83 HDCF% was still +4.89 relative to his teammates, which really says all it needs to on its own.

The on-ice impacts are strong, that goes without saying really, but they also feel like they’re going to be sustainable, so long as Frost doesn’t alter his underlying process. While Frost hasn’t established himself as a full-on volume shooter, he still has done well to generate a good number of individual chances (averaging 2.27 shot attempts per game and and 1.37 scoring chances per game at 5-on-5). We would like to see him do even more, but this is already a respectable process, and does bode well for future results.

5v5 Neutral Zone Stats

Entry Attempts Entries Controlled Entry% Possession Entry% Exit Attempts Exits Controlled Exit%
Entry Attempts Entries Controlled Entry% Possession Entry% Exit Attempts Exits Controlled Exit%
91 83 65.06 78.31 77 66 77.27

You may be shocked to hear that on top of his scoring and on-ice stats being strong, Frost’s transition numbers are strong as well. Indeed, over his 22 games tracked, Frost was the Phantoms’ single most effective generator of Controlled Entries, Possession Entries, and Controlled Exits (among regulars in the lineup), not just out of all forwards, but out of all skaters. His impact in transition is pretty well unmatched, and it was a real treat to see. He hasn’t established himself as a volume entry generator as a few other players we’ve talked about have, as he’s only averaging a hair over two entries per game, but when he is making the entries for his line, there’s a very good chance that they’re going to have possession and to be in the best position to be immediately generating offense.

Three burning questions

1. Did Frost live up to our expectations this season?

I think it’s fair to say that Frost did live up to our expectations, yes. Personally, I did try to temper my expectations a bit, because as skilled and talented as he is, making the jump from the OHL is still a big task. But, that said, he still did just about everything we could have hoped to see him do in his rookie season—he found his scoring game pretty quickly, he was able to continue to show flashes of really strong playmaking, he held his own physically, and he even came out with strong underlying numbers, to boot. He wasn’t perfect, and certainly still had a fair few moments where he did look like a rookie trying things and having opponents feasting on his mistakes, but that we expected a bit of too. But, all in all, he gave us a lot to be excited about.

2. What do we expect from Frost next season?

Well, for starters, I do expect him to be in the mix for a spot with the Flyers right out of their next training camp. A lot remains to be seen in regards to what the openings are going to look like, depending on what happens with Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom and their statuses, but as Frost did spend some time with the Flyers this season and did find some success, it stands to reason that he’ll get a real chance to win out a spot with the big club.

But, if he is back with the Phantoms next season, we can expect for him to likely be given All Of The Minutes, and a real chance to continue to polish his game. We know his impacts at 5-on-5 are already strong, and he was a real revelation on the power play as well (even if the results weren’t coming for them this season), and utilizing him properly is going to be a key to turning things around there next season. He still has some details to work out, so we don’t want to put too much pressure on and expect perfection, but Frost has shown in flashes that he can completely dominate at this level, and we’d just like to see him take a step forward and show us a bit more of that.

3. What would we like to see Frost to improve on?

We’ve touched on this already but the big thing that needs a bit of work is the consistency of his decision making and play away from the puck. Frost is a really fun player to watch, and the big reason for this is that he’s always trying to do something interesting and creative, and that can make for a really fun on-ice product. However, when what he’s going for doesn’t work, it means that he can end up in a bit of trouble. It’s going to need to be something of a balancing act for Frost, because while the last thing we want to see is him giving up bits of that creativity in favor of playing a much safer game (because that would take away so much of what makes him interesting and effective), it would still serve him well if he can get a bit better at choosing his spots and not taking any big unnecessary risks. We love to talk about prospects needing to make sure they’re playing a well rounded, 200 foot game, and we’d like to see some more of this from Frost as well, but we don’t want to see it coming at the expense of His Game. So it’ll be about finding that balance.