Morgan Frost, the other 1st-round pick, can help Flyers, too

Morgan Frost, the other 1st-round pick, can help Flyers, too

VOORHEES, N.J. — Morgan Frost was teeming with nerves.

The Flyers had just called his name on the night of the NHL draft, so emotions were running wild as he made his way to the spectacle's forefront at the United Center.

"It was pretty crazy," Frost said last week. "Walking up the stage, I thought I was going to fall over."

Unlike that concern, Frost has no trouble staying upright on the ice. His speed, skating and skills are what made him attractive to the Flyers, who selected the 18-year-old in the June draft with the 27th pick acquired via the Brayden Schenn trade.

With the deal, Frost became the Flyers' second first-round choice of the night, joining No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick. And similar to Patrick, Frost is a skilled forward that thrives when skill surrounds him. Put Frost with talent, and he'll make it better.

"I think I'm definitely a playmaker first," Frost said. "I think you're always going to see me with more assists than goals."

That rung true last season when Frost put up 42 assists compared to 20 goals in 67 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. Alongside Bruins 2015 first-round pick Zach Senyshyn, a bona-fide goal-scoring winger, Frost dished the puck plenty and also produced a 22-assist increase from his first year of junior play.

"Playing with a guy like Senyshyn definitely helps that stat because he's a goal scorer," Frost said. "I think for me, playing with a goal scorer is part of the best thing because I'm a guy that likes to distribute. At the same time, I feel like I can contribute offensively in terms of scoring, but I'm definitely a playmaker."

Frost provided glimpses of that ability through a variety of drills and competition at Flyers development camp, his first real taste of the NHL.

"It's super special," Frost said. "The first step on that ice obviously meant a lot to me. It's still pretty surreal for me to be here. I'm definitely excited."

Now with an NHL organization, Frost hopes to grow both physically and defensively. An offensive stalwart listed at 5-foot-11, 172 pounds, Frost was able to see how he can improve those areas after spending six days with the Flyers.

"Giving them an early view of our expectations as an organization of ways to improve their game, whether it's skill-wise or strength-wise," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said of development camp.

"Being a pro and showing them ways to develop physically and as an athlete."

Over time, Frost wants to show he can be an all-situation center. He feels he has already started to with the Greyhounds, who will continue to give him greater responsibilities in 2017-18, including penalty-kill minutes.

"They kind of stressed that to me right when I got there," Frost said. "I was kind of a one-dimensional player, offensive. They stressed that it wasn't all about that, it's not about scoring goals or setting up goals all the time if you're going to be on the ice for goals against. So plus-minus was something I wanted to improve on and just be harder to play against, play defense. They turned me into more of a well-rounded player."

Over 65 games in 2015-16, Frost was a minus-6. He went to a plus-15 in 2016-17. And while he wants to become more complete, making a difference with the puck on his stick will be his ticket to the Flyers.

"I think that's a skill I've had ever since I was a little kid, just being able to see the ice and slow the play down a little," Frost said. "But at the same time, I think that's developed with coaching and practice."

After getting to know the Flyers, he found new ways to work on those strengths.

"We're watching video, watching just little things that you can do with your skates — ways to change your angle, use your edges," Frost said. "That's one thing that I definitely want to do and I want to be able to accelerate better.

"The first three steps and once I get up to speed, I'm fast and I can use my speed to my advantage."

And to help his teammates, too. That's what Frost does best.

5 observations from Flyers development camp

5 observations from Flyers development camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — The drills and competition picked up on Day 2 of Flyers development camp.

Day 1 on Friday consisted mostly of solo work and hammering away at fundamentals.

On Saturday afternoon, the split position groups gave way to some fun 1-on-1 battles between forwards and defensemen after some inner-position sets in the morning.

Let's look at a few moments that stuck out with five observations from the day:

1. You can tell German Rubtsov played a bit in the KHL.

His hands are legit and he can stop and go under control.

In a 1-on-1 situation against a defenseman, he maintained possession and scored on a nice backhanded shot in between the circles.

On a few occasions, the 2016 first-round pick went up against one of the Flyers' top defensive prospects in Travis Sanheim, making for an interesting matchup. Rubtsov didn't score but offered Sanheim a good challenge.

It's no surprise Rubtsov, who turned 19 years old in June, went off for 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 16 games once he shifted to the QMJHL.

2. Speaking of Sanheim, his skating is impressive.

The 21-year-old shifts and pivots really well and just looks like an NHL defenseman now that he's filled out at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds.

He's an offensive-minded guy that has improved his defensive game. He's in his fourth development camp, which is why everything has looked so natural to him.

3. There was great competition between forwards Oskar Lindblom and Mike Vecchione, two of the camp headliners, in a late morning drill. One forward had to sustain possession in a tight area while the other applied pressure with the forecheck and poke check.

Vecchione, a four-year college standout, is the oldest player in camp at 24 and is mainly here to be a good influence and get further acclimated to the Flyers before training camp. He's made things look easy and was a great partner for the soon-to-be-21-year-old Lindblom, the prospect everyone wants to see now and in the big camp.

Both clearly are advanced players from their previous destinations. Vecchione's edge and Lindblom's size made the drill a must-watch among all the action happening at once. 

The two appreciated the back-and-forth after the whistle blew.

4. Morgan Frost has some handles.

The Flyers' other first-round pick from last month showed it with quick and decisive stick work in a 1-on-1 bout, deking a defender a few times to get a look on net.

He's only 18 and in the early stages of growing into his body, but you can see the skill already there.

5. It's hard to believe Ivan Kosorenkov went undrafted.

The 19-year-old Russian winger scored on a nasty move in a 1-on-1 drill and displayed some more shortly after, even eliciting a stick tap from his group to end the session.

He's looked worthy of this camp invite.

"Certainly a kid who could have got drafted but didn't," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Friday. "There's a lot of bubble guys. There were a few guys in the seventh round we would have liked to pick.

"I wish the draft was 10 rounds, 12 rounds, personally."

Kosorenkov probably does, too.

5 players to watch for 2017 Flyers development camp

5 players to watch for 2017 Flyers development camp

General manager Ron Hextall doesn’t have high expectations for the incoming prospects during the Flyers development camp. It’s more a process of understanding expectations, learning how to be a professional and meeting some of the organization’s prospects in the process (see story).  

While you won’t be treated to up-and-down scrimmaging that showcases individual skills, here’s a look at five of the more intriguing prospects to keep an eye on:   

1. Oskar Lindblom (No. 54)
Everything about the 20-year-old (turns 21 on Aug. 15) left winger suggests he’s ready for the NHL, and the Flyers feel the same as he signed his entry-level deal back in May. 

Lindblom was named the top forward for 2016-17 in the Swedish Elite League, where he put up 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points in 72 games between the regular season and playoffs.

The Flyers have produced very few late-round gems in the draft, but Lindblom appears to be a steal in Hextall’s first draft with the Flyers as he was selected in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2014 entry draft. He fell mostly because his skating was below average, and we’ll see how much he’s worked on that during the development camp.

Overall, Lindblom has size, added muscle and plays a solid all-around game that certainly makes capable of scoring goals.

2. Philippe Myers (No. 61)
The Flyers’ blue line cupboard is stocked with young talent, and with Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin expected to be the frontrunners for spots on the big club, Myers has become somewhat of the forgotten guy. 

NHL analyst Bob McKenzie tweeted back in January that Myers looked close to being NHL-ready based on the D-man’s play at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Myers is slightly smaller in build than Morin, but he has a big shot (scored 27 goals in a season and a half in the QMJHL). 

Hextall was blown away during a free-agent tryout in 2015 after Myers went undrafted the year before. Myers suffered a concussion during the WJC that kept him out until mid-February.

It will be very interesting to see him with the other prospects this week.

3. German Rubtsov (No. 63)
There was something unique about Rubtsov when Hextall made him the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft as he selected the Russian over some big, highly skilled wingers. 

Hextall admitted the organization did more character digging on Rubtsov than perhaps any player he’s drafted. Rubtsov did not participate in the team’s prospect camp a year ago, so this will be our first look at him. 

Rubtsov carved up the QMJHL in the short amount of time he played, and in all likelihood, he will return to Chicoutimi for next season. 

From what little I’ve seen from Rubtsov, he has really good hockey sense and is the ideal two-way center Hextall prefers.

4. Morgan Frost (No. 68)
Of the five prospects listed here, Frost is the youngest and furthest away from making the NHL. However, the name should stick with you considering he’s the player the entire scouting department was sold on when Hextall decided to add a late first-round pick when the Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to St. Louis.  

You may have also read Frost’s (now deleted) tweet from 2013 when he called the Flyers s--- following the team’s 7-0 blowout to the Capitals. Frost was just a kid and he’s obviously wised up as scouts and analysts rave about his smarts. 

Frost also has excellent acceleration on the ice, which is much needed for a team that lacks overall speed.    

5. Carter Hart (No. 79)
With Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott signed to respective two-year contracts, one of the goalie prospects should emerge to be “the guy” for the 2019-20 season.

Right now, Carter Hart appears to be the frontrunner. He was the No. 1 goaltender in the CHL with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last season.

Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon referred to Hart as “so physically gifted” and, impressively, he’s also incredibly mature for an 18-year-old with a deep understanding of the history of the goaltending position. 

After he backstopped Team Canada to the silver medal at the World Junior Championships, Flyers fans can see for themselves the next franchise goalie since the guy who drafted him.