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Flyers’ Morgan Frost Outperforming NHL’s Top Centers



Morgan Frost
Morgan Frost played one of his best games against the Arizona Coyotes, according to Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella. (Photo: AP)

Whatever was said between Morgan Frost and head coach John Tortorella prior to and after Frost’s Jan. 4 benching, the Philadelphia Flyers have benefitted greatly. Neither Frost nor Tortorella explained what was said in any kind of detail, but it’s clear that the player and the coach have finally found a mutual understanding of each other.

“I had some things I wanted to kind of get off my chest,” Frost had offered. “Good back and forth.”

After the benching, Tortorella explained that Frost was “. . . the one who wanted the meeting. For me, I was thrilled that he came in and wanted to talk and gave me some of his thoughts, not agreeing.”

“That’s a huge step for me with Frosty, is him coming in and saying ‘You know what, this is what I think.’ It’s so important that players do that.”

Let the numbers show, Tortorella seems to have finally pushed Frost over the hump.

If we’re talking about the raw stats over the course of the whole season thus far, the 24-year-old isn’t blowing anyone away. For the 2023-24 season, Frost has nine goals, 17 assists, and 26 points in 43 games played. His average ice time of 15:34 is down from last season’s average of 16:20, but Frost has already managed career-highs in power play goals (2) and power play points (9).

Over half of Frost’s points this season, though, have come in these last four weeks. After missing the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 4, Frost returned two days later on Jan. 6 against the Calgary Flames, scoring one goal and one assist in a 3-2 victory. Since Jan. 4, Frost has accrued four goals, 11 assists, and 15 points in 16 games. That’s a 77-point pace over an 82-game season.

The last Flyers player to score over 70 points was Claude Giroux, who scored 85 points in 82 games in the 2018-19 season. That was the year the Flyers started eight different goaltenders, including Alex Lyon.

Turning away from the numbers and going deeper with advanced stats, Frost’s play at both ends of the ice backs up the production.

The Flyers pivot currently has an on-ice expected goals percentage of 63.4% at 5-on-5, which is higher than the likes of NHL stars such as William Nylander (62.5%), Roope Hintz (62.5%), Mikko Rantanen (61.5%), Nikita Kucherov (59.5%), and Elias Pettersson (58.8%), per Moneypuck.

That’s not all. When you stack Frost up against his peers exclusively at the center position, the results are even more eye-watering.

Frost’s on-ice xG% of 63.4% is higher than the following centers:

  • Hintz (62.5%)
  • Pettersson (58.8%)
  • Sebastian Aho (58.4%)
  • Nico Hischier (57.7%)
  • J.T. Miller (57.6%)
  • Mika Zibanejad (57.2%)
  • Brayden Point (57.1%)
  • Jack Eichel (55.6%)
  • Robert Thomas (54.8%)
  • Nick Suzuki (53.8%)
  • Bo Horvat (53.7%)

There’s plenty more, but you probably get the point. Frost has legitimately been winning his share of the ice time at a better rate than some of the NHL’s elite, most of whom are getting paid top dollar for their services.

Then, when you look at Frost’s off-ice xG% (the Flyers’ expected goal share when Frost is not on the ice), it’s just 44.5%. That means the Flyers have 18.9% more of the expected goal share when Frost is on the ice versus when he’s not. For comparison, Connor McDavid gives the Edmonton Oilers 18.4% more xG% when he’s on the ice. That’s how good Frost has been for the Flyers.

Tortorella sees the growth in his young center, too. After Monday night’s Flyers game against the Arizona Coyotes, Tortorella said Frost’s performance was “One of the best games I’ve seen him play.”

The Aurora, Ontario native is eligible to sign an extension with the Flyers on July 1; he’s in the first year of a two-year, $4.2 million contract he signed on Sept. 7. Frost is represented by agent Darren Ferris, who represents players like Nazem Kadri, Mitch Marner, Taylor Hall, Sam Bennett, and Andreas Athanasiou. Bennett and Athanasiou have an AAV in the $4 million range, while Hall and the others have an AAV of $6 million or higher.

The Flyers have already lavished a hefty extension on Owen Tippett, and Ryan Poehling has extended his stay in Philadelphia, too. If Frost doesn’t extend right away and plays a full season at this level for the Flyers next year, good luck to the front office in negotiating a low-budget deal.

One thing is for certain, though: No. 48 has earned his opportunity, taken it, and ran with it.

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