Flyers’ Morgan Frost: From ‘Toilet Seat’ to Opening Torts’ Eyes
Morgan Frost is far from a finished product, but the 23-year-old Philadelphia Flyers center has made massive strides since his head coach was comparing him to part of a bathroom.
Back in late November, John Tortorella was miffed by Frost’s inconsistent play.
A dominating shift here, an invisible shift there.
“He’s up and down like a toilet seat,” Tortorella said at the time.
Since then, Frost has steadied himself. A first-round selection (27th overall) in 2017 and a very dominating junior player, Frost has even impressed his hard-to-please coach.
“He’s getting more and more consistent,” Tortorella said after Frost had two goals, eight shot attempts (five on goal), and was the best player on the ice during the Flyers’ 3-2 win Tuesday over Montreal. “The goals are the goals. That’s great. We’re looking for that. But I think he’s improved right on through, away from the puck, which is a very important part of his game.”
Torts on Morgan Frost. #Flyers pic.twitter.com/NHaT0CkA83
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 29, 2023
Tortorella said Frost has improved his body positioning and gotten better in puck battles, calling him a “200-foot player,” which is a lot better than a toilet seat.
“We know he has skill,” Tortorella said. “We need to keep on seeing the skill. But for a coach to put a player on the ice that he’s still not sure of, that other stuff has to be sound. And I think he has really improved there.”
Since Jan. 1, Frost leads the Flyers with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 36 games. He is a student of the game, someone who watches lots of video and gets input from his coaches to improve his game.
Overall, he has 16 goals and 38 points in 72 games. He has gotten Tortorella’s attention, but Frost isn’t feeling comfortable (yet) that he has locked down a spot for next season.
Tortorella has said several players are on trial for next year. Frost was asked if his performance Tuesday could leave a lasting impression with his old-school coach.
Still proving himself
“Maybe, (but) I don’t think it’s just one game,” he said. “It’s throughout the whole season. I’ve said it before, I think a lot of guys have a lot to play for, myself included. I want to be here next year. I want to be here for the long run, so every game is important.”
A couple weeks ago, Tortorella said Frost had made strides, but still had a lot to prove to him.
Frost, a good-natured sort who understands his coach is trying to motivate him, accepts the challenge.
“I know the situation I’m in,” he said. “I’m trying to do the right things, whether it’s making more plays or be a little more reliable defensively. I think even faceoffs, too. My faceoffs have been pretty terrible all year. Just really trying to hone in on that now and show I can play a complete game.
“Like I said, I want to be here next year,” he added. “Every game is important.”
Ron Hextall, then the Flyers’ general manager, was the person who drafted Frost. Hextall traded Brayden Schenn (then 25 years old) to St. Louis for draft picks that turned out to be Frost and Joel Farabee.
The jury is still out on that deal, but it’s looking like it was a trade that worked for both sides.
Farabee, 23, is regaining his mojo after having offseason neck surgery that hindered his play most of the season.
As for Frost, he has spent the last few months showing he has the talent — his stickhandling excellence makes him one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ most creative players — and the hockey IQ to have a long and productive NHL career.
That is, as long as he stays consistent and doesn’t cause his coach to bring out a toilet-seat analogy again.