For center Morgan Frost, this is a “prove-it” season.
Time to prove he was worthy of being a first-round selection in 2017.
Time to prove his excellent junior and AHL seasons will carry into the NHL.
Time to prove he can be more than a small contributor for the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It’s probably the biggest year of my career.” Frost said after practice Friday at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees.
Frost, you may recall, was electrifying back when he made his NHL debut in 2019. He became the sixth player in the Flyers’ history to score goals in each of his first two NHL games.
The Ontario native has been up and down since his flashy start, but now looks on the right track. Frost had a strong preseason. He led the Flyers with three points, all on assists, and looked more assertive than he did last year.
“I think he has a good feel for the game. I think he’s a pretty smart player away from the puck,’’ new coach John Tortorella said.
He said he wants Frost to “give us something there, and I want to allow him to play offensively. I don’t want to get in his way.”
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But Tortorella, probably because he doesn’t want his players to feel too comfortable with their spots, wouldn’t go as far as say Frost would start the season as his second- or third-line center. With Sean Couturier injured, it would be stunning if Frost wasn’t a regular when the season begins Thursday.
“If he’s in our lineup, it will probably be with better players than parts of camp,” Tortorella said.
Frost, now 23, missed most of the 2020-21 season because of shoulder surgery. He didn’t seem fully healthy last season , when he managed just five goals and 16 points in 55 games with the Philadelphia Flyers.
He says he is now 100 percent.
“I have a lot more confidence in battles, for sure,’’ said Frost, who once had consecutive seasons with 100-plus points in the Ontario Hockey League. “I don’t feel like I’m being outmuscled as much, (or relying on) my instincts or my stick as much.
The return to good health has also helped him be strong on draws in the preseason.
“I’m going into faceoffs not mentally thinking about the shoulder,” he said. “The big thing for me has always been the stuff away from the puck.’’
So far, so good. Now he has to prove it in the regular season.
“I don’t just want to be on the team,” Frost said. “I want to be here and make a difference.”