As the calendar turns to December and the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder it’s typical to get a frost warning on your phone, warning you to save any plants you may still have outside. For the Flyers, a frost warning means that forward Morgan Frost’s return to the NHL is on the horizon.
With Kevin Hayes back on the shelf after re-aggravating his core muscle injuries, the Flyers are once again faced with the lack of center depth they struggled with early in the season. Derick Brassard and Scott Laughton have served as fine stop-gap options, but are over their heads as the second and third line centers respectively. The Flyers’ only internal hope is 22-year-old 2017 first round pick, who has been an interesting character through the early storylines of the season.
When Hayes first ended up on the shelf, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Morgan Frost would make the Flyers roster out of camp and finally get his shot to hang in the NHL. But the Flyers shocked everyone when they sent him to the Phantoms to start the year and went with Brassard as 2C.
In a perfect, injury free world, it was likely Frost was going to start the season in the AHL regardless because he missed the entirety of last season with a shoulder injury. Working him back in at the minor league level was the best course of rehab, but when the injury bug struck the main roster, it seemed like a guarantee that Frost would make the Flyers roster, which didn’t happen.
The Phantoms have gotten off to an abysmal start, but Frost has been racking up offense despite the overall drought the team is facing. He’s recorded two goals and 14 points in 15 games this season on an offensively anemic Phantoms squad. If he’s producing on a lackluster Lehigh Valley team, maybe he can keep the unlikely production going when he arrives with the big club.
Frost is a playmaker, plain and simple. His best chance to succeed is lined up with the team’s best goal scorers. Given the “best goal scorers” haven’t exactly been threatening so far this season, maybe they could stand to have a jolt from Frost. One has to imagine Farabee and Atkinson, two thirds of the FAB line that had most of the scoring early in the year, would have a much better chance to reignite with a player like Frost to dish them prime scoring opportunities rather than Derick Brassard.
The idea of Morgan Frost being a bonafide superstar is a ship that sailed a long time ago. Now, if he can develop into a slightly above average middle-six center with an offensive upside, that is a reasonable expectation.
If Frost does indeed get recalled, it may not quite be a “do or die” scenario, but his ability to sink or swim will go a long way to determining what kind of future he has with the Flyers and possibly the NHL. If he can jump into the lineup and keep his head above water when it comes to his two-way play and chip in a few points offensively, it could be the kind of thing that could finally jump start his career. If he gets called up and looks like a lost, undersized forward who isn’t noticeable in the offensive zone, his time as the Flyers’ top prospect may come to an end as the organization needs to search for a real solution down the middle.
Ready or not, it’s time for Morgan Frost to sink or swim. The indecisiveness surrounding Frost has to end sooner or later, and with an injury to Kevin Hayes, there’s no better time for him to make his jump to the NHL and seize the day. The recovery from his shoulder injury and the potential hiccup that caused in his development needs to be taken into consideration, but the kid isn’t getting any younger. If there was ever a time for Frost to kick down the door, it’s right now, and for both his sake and the Flyers, you have to hope he can survive in the deep end.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: mcall.com