Throughout the history of the Philadelphia Flyers there have been some famous trios. The L-B-C Line that consisted of Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke, and Bill Barber that dominated early in the franchise’s history, to the Legion of Doom in the 90’s, to the Deuces Wild Line of Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg, and Simon Gagne in the mid 2000’s. Now it’s time for a new trio to takeover the Flyers, and their names are Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost, and Joel Farabee.
Through rookie camp and the rookie game against the Islanders, the Flyers top three prospects in the system have shown impressive chemistry together. All three players are offensively dynamic, above-average skaters, and all individuals bring something unique.
Morgan Frost is the smallest of the three at just 6 feet tall weighing 185lbs, is arguably the best all around player. He has shown his goal scoring ability in juniors, scoring 79 goals since being drafted by the Flyers in 2017. His hands are also silky smooth, with 142 assists over the same span. He is the natural center of the trio, which is where his size comes into play. If he makes the Flyers roster out of camp, he’d slot in on the fourth line behind Couturier, Hayes, and Patrick. Not only would he see less minutes, but he’d be facing the other teams “grinders” or whatever the modern day equivalent of that role is. On paper he may be the most NHL ready of the group, but another year to continue to bulk up, while the Nolan Patrick situation plays itself out, spending some time with the Phantoms to adjust to the size of professionals can’t hurt.
Joel Farabee is the youngest of the three, yet plays the most mature game. There has already been talk of him claiming the third line right wing spot on the Flyers roster out of camp. Farabee clocks in at 6’1 and 175 lbs, similar to Frost, his size is at least semi-concerning at the NHL level. On the bright side, He is renown for his speed and ability to avoid his opponents, but that may change over an 82-game NHL schedule.
Isaac Ratcliffe is different from the other two. He is a hulking 6’6 and 204 lbs, but make no mistake, that doesn’t mean he can’t score. He put up 50 goals last season for Guelph of the OHL last season. With Frost and Farabee on the smaller side, he will have to contribute offensively, and keep his linemates safe from threats.
Individually, they are all great players and could probably handle NHL minutes by themselves, but given the early chemistry between the three, maybe letting them develop and debut together is the way to go.
Given the Flyers top six is already set, any additions would have to debut on the third or fourth line, which isn’t ideal. Sure, they could work themselves into the NHL from there, but playing top line minutes in the AHL would better their development rather than 12 or 13 minutes a night in the NHL.
More importantly, since there isn’t room for all three at the NHL level, and they have already shown chemistry as a trio, maybe the best move for the organization is to keep the three together and run with the idea of a new trio, the Legion of Soon.
Sure, it furthers the “one year away from being one year away” issue the Flyers have faced for the entirety of Ron Hextall’s tenure as GM, but waiting one more year with a potentially massive payoff could make the wait worth it.
If the threesome can continue their development and chemistry together with the Phantoms, next season they can debut for the Flyers together and be a full line threat. It’s not everyday a trio of top prospects make their debut together, and on the same line no less.
With the start of training camp on the doorstep, who knows if any of three wow the flyers brass enough to make the roster out of camp. There are plenty of young guys all fighting for a roster spot this season. With guys like German Rubstov, Mikhail Vorobyev, Nick Aube-Kubel among others pushing for a spot, maybe letting some of these “lesser” prospects fill in the bottom six while Frost, Farabee, and Ratcliffe take the top billing in the AHL isn’t the worst plan.
These three prospects are potential game changers and trying to utilize them to their maximum ceiling is the right move for the franchise’s future. Sure, it means waiting a little longer to see the kids we’ve been promised for so long, but the gold at the end of the rainbow could be exactly what the Flyers franchise needs to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: phillyvoice.com