Morgan Frost has sort of been the forgotten Philadelphia Flyers prospect. Whether it was more focus drawn on the big-league team and their fortunes and misfortunes, or the season he mostly lost due to injury, no one has really thought of him as a sure-thing to contribute to this team. Well, until Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere ranted and raved about the kid after Sunday’s rookie showcase game.
The massive individual narrative coming into the prospect camp for Frost was whether or not he can demonstrate his work from the summer at getting to that NHL level of physicality. And he has already gotten questions about it from his teammates, so the Phantoms bench boss was able to have his say.
“For sure. For me he does. He was physical. I just talked to him before I got up here and he felt great,” he said on Sunday. “He was a little bit tired, like I gave him quite a bit of ice-time, which I wanted to test him in different situations I would like to see him in, and management would like to see him too. I thought he looked great...He’s such a smart player, he can adjust. I’m just happy for him that he put the work in. He looks bigger, he looks stronger, and even playing in his battles out there, he did. And all credit to him, he went back home and put the work in and it’s paying off right now.
“Development camp, he looked good. This camp, he looked good. And now he’ll take the step to main camp. I’m sure he’s going to look great.”
Frost is coming into a packed Flyers forward depth chart and even though there has been some clearances — whether they have been shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights or swiped up by the Seattle Kraken — he is going to have to do some battling. Especially since Philadelphia signed Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson this summer, the young prospect has even more guys to climb over and look better than during camp.
No matter the personnel, Frost will have a hard time trying to remind people of what he can do. Only appearing in two pointless Flyers games last season and before that splitting some time between the AHL and NHL during his rookie campaign, it feels like a very long time since we have had to pencil his name in prospective lineups.
But there is at least one thing that he is able to do more of this time around: kill penalties. When Laperriere was asked whether Frost would be on the shorthanded unit in Philadelphia or Lehigh Valley, he gave his definitive answer.
“If he comes to me in Lehigh, for sure,” he said. “I believe in skilled players like that. They know what the other guy is going to do, because they’re on the other side. They know what a skilled player is going to do because they’re a skilled player. He’s got quickness, he’s got a great stick.
“I told him already, I want him to make the Flyers. I hope he does. I hope I don’t see him. I’ll be honest, I hope I don’t see any of those kids, I hope they make the NHL. That’s my job, to make sure if they do come to me, to do everything I can to bring them back up. But I told him already, ‘if you come to me, you’ll kill penalties.’”
It’s not often that a coach would be disgusted if he sees a player on his roster, but in a good way.
Flyers camp will be opening next week and Frost will be among the hot-topic players to peer in and see if he has a chance to dazzle his way into a spot in the top-nine forward group when the puck drops on Oct. 15. At least he has already impressed one coach in the organization.
“Hopefully he’ll make the Flyers. He’s got great skills. He can help this franchise for sure.”