As the 2021 preseason starts to wrap up the Flyers roster is becoming more clear. There aren’t many surprises within the lineup but there is one noticeable player that is missing from the projected top-12 forwards and that’s 21-year-old sophomore forward Morgan Frost.
Frost, who suited up for 20 Flyers games last season ended the year with the Phantoms after he fell down the ranks of the main roster after starting on the top line, scored two goals and seven points during that stretch, but his overall game still needed time to develop. During his Phantoms tenure he managed to pot 13 goals and 29 points in 41 games in Lehigh Valley last season, not hesitating to flash the offensive brilliance that made him a first round draft pick in 2017.
With the Flyers’ top-six currently locked down and the bottom-six overcrowded by players that fit the role better than Frost, one has to wonder where the young forward fits in? Nolan Patrick’s return means the center depth is filled and Frost is not a natural winger, though he has taken reps at the wing during training camp.
In a normal season Frost would probably just be sent down to the Phantoms and be given more time to develop, but given the current circumstances, the AHL season is delayed and still doesn’t have a start date set in stone. That means Frost could find himself on the taxi squad as a way for the Flyers to keep him close to the team but not actually on the roster. While that means he will be practicing with the team, he won’t be seeing game action, a big negative for someone who hasn’t seen a competitive hockey game since March 11, 2020.
Luckily for Frost, head coach Alain Vigneault has shown in the past he’s not afraid to shake up the lineup if need be, but even then, Frost is in the mix with guys like Samuel Morin, Connor Bunnaman, Andy Andreoff, among others who may fit the bill better depending on what the team needs on a given night. He looked decent during Sunday’s televised scrimmage, though the performance has to be taken with a level of apprehension.
It’s safe to assume Morgan Frost will see NHL ice at some point during the season, though it’s not a good sign that he still hasn’t carved out a spot in the everyday lineup. Simply put, the only way Frost will get better and acclimated to the NHL is by playing, but there are multiple factors working against him. Until his overall play can develop further, or the AHL season starts, he’s going to be in limbo, which doesn’t help anybody.
There is still a high ceiling in the NHL for Morgan Frost, but until some of the congestion the Flyers have at forward subsides, or Frost kicks the door down and earns a spot, he will linger in a gray area only seeing ice time in sporadic doses in the meantime. If and when the AHL starts expect Frost to get sent down to gain some extra reps under his belt until the NHL calls his name once again.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com