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Flyers Desperately Need Morgan Frost’s Creativity as They Look to Book Ticket to Postseason

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

For the third consecutive year, Philadelphia Flyers centre Morgan Frost is ending his regular season on a much higher note than how he started out. The Flyers are currently lacking offensive weapons, especially of the creative variety, and while Frost oozes first-line potential, the consistency has been lacking.

However, throughout all the healthy scratches and the demotions, Frost has persevered yet again and is looking to close out 2023-24 with a ticket to the postseason.

In 2021-22, Frost scored 2 goals and 8 points in his first 38 games while accumulating a -15 rating. He would finish off the campaign with 3 goals and 8 points in his final 17 games and held a plus-4 rating after being paired up with recently-acquired Owen Tippett.

In 2022-23, Frost started off the season with 2 goals in the opener but then slumped to the tune of 1 goal and 4 points in his next 26 games. He wound up finishing the season as the team’s leading point getter from December 11th onwards with 16 goals and 40 points in 54 games with nearly 3 more minutes of ice time per game at 17:17.

This year, it’s been a bit of the same as he scored just 5 goals and 10 points in his first 25 games – keyword being “his” as he was made a healthy scratch 10 times. From December 31st onwards, Frost has scored 8 goals and 31 points in the following 41 games with a plus-1 rating and 16:16 ATOI. Furthermore, he has 4 goals and 14 points in the club’s last 18 games and has blossomed into a primary weapon alongside Tippett and Travis Konecny.

Last year was a big season for the then-23-year-old because the previous 3 seasons before that he had suited up in just 79 games with 7 goals and 23 points to his name. He smashed all of his previous highs with 19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points, 16:21 ATOI, and 81 games played. Perhaps the most impressive feat might have been that all but one of his 19 goals came while playing even-strength hockey and only 5 of his 46 total points came with the man advantage.

This season, he is very close to breaking his marks again but will need a strong finish in the team’s final 5 games to reach that moniker. He probably won’t get to his 19 goals from 2022-23, but he’s already 1 assist better with 28 and is 5 points away from matching his 46. His plus/minus is 19 points better this season, and his ice-time is nearly 30 seconds less per game but that has a lot to do with more options at John Tortorella’s disposal. His 48.7% mark on the faceoff circle is also a career-high and nearly 3% better than last year.

Not only has he become an offensive threat, but his analytical numbers have risen considerably as well. Overall his CF% sits at 59 compared to last year’s 51.4, his CF% is at 10.4 to last year’s 6.0, his FF% is at 61.1 compared to last year’s 52.0, and his FF% is at 10.7 compared to the 5.6 he reached last year. While on even-strength his CF% is 5.1 points higher, his CF% rel is 2 points higher, his FF% is 6.5 points higher, and FF% rel is 2.5 points higher than last season as well.

Frost’s numbers would be so much better to swallow if the Flyers held a competent power play. The abysmal unit is on the verge of making history as they currently sit in last place in the NHL for the third consecutive season. In a league where offense has taken off and power plays are clicking at impressive rates, the Flyers are sitting 32nd with a 12.92% efficiency. There are 20 teams clicking above 20% and it’s even worse when you factor in that the Flyers have had the 10th most opportunities. Frost currently paces the sad bunch with 11 power play points, which is as bad as it sounds considering there are 25 players in the league with 11+ power play goals alone.

The soon-to-be 25-year-old still has a lot of work to do but it’s encouraging at the very least that he has remained healthy over the past 2 seasons. He’s been made a healthy scratch 11 times this season but he’s played every game outside of that and going back to last year, he played in all but 1 game – a healthy scratch in Toronto.

He needs to work on his faceoff marksmanship, his defensive game, and overall consistency but Frost is arguably the most offensively talented player the Flyers have on their roster, which make it even more imperative that he continues to find the back of the net. For a goal-starved club like the Flyers, one that depends more on their forechecking and grinding, Frost has to continue to play the way that he has over the last few months with their grip on a playoff spot fading.

Sean Couturier hit a wall after the 41st game of the season and was demoted to the fourth line before finally being made a healthy scratch. He was playing top-line minutes, every situation imaginable, and was looked upon as a scoring threat. Once his offensive game tailed off, the Flyers had to rely way more on Konecny, Tippett, and Frost and it shows over the last month and a bit.

Over the last 10 games, Tippett leads the way with 4 goals and 10 points, followed by Konecny’s 4 goals and 9 points, and Frost’s 3 goals and 8 points. It’s a steep drop-off after that with Scott Laughton and Tyson Foerster behind them with just 5 points apiece. In the last 15 games, Tippett and Konecny each have 11 points and Frost has 10 to his name while Foerster and Laughton are right behind them with 7 apiece.

With the playoffs hanging by the balance the upcoming back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday is going to be the biggest test this club has faced all season. They’ve slipped coming out of the gauntlet with losses to lowly Montréal and Chicago before allowing the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres back into the race with devastating losses.

Frost proved to be very vital by scoring the game-tying goal against New York with just 9.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Jamie Drysdale fired a shot from the point with traffic in front of the net before Frost banged home the rebound to send the game to overtime.

Unfortunately, Frost ended up misplaying a pass in his own zone, which ultimately led to the game-winning goal from Brock Nelson.

Before the game, Couturier was finally let out of the doghouse and was promoted up the lineup and placed in between Foerster and Konecny.  As fate would have it, he was forced out of the game in the first period with a shoulder injury and will miss the next 2 games. Heading into Buffalo, Frost was seen skating with Foerster and Konecny on the top-line and manning the first power play unit with Bobby Brink, Jamie Drysdale, Konecny, and Foerster.

With the Islanders winning Thursday and the Pittsburgh Penguins winning their last four games including today, the hunt for a playoff spot gets more and more intense. The Flyers are now on the outside looking in with 83 points in 77 games, but the Islanders are currently occupying the third spot in the Metropolitan with an identical 83 points but in 76 games, the Penguins are tied with the Flyers with 83 points in 77 games but own the tiebreaker by virtue of regulation wins, and they’re followed by both Washington and Detroit with 82 points in 76 games each.

Buffalo is also hanging around in the background and after claiming two points last night against the Flyers, they have 79 points with 5 games remaining. The Flyers still control their own destiny but they’re going to need Konecny, Frost, and Tippett to put the offense on their back as they try to close things out with relative ease.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

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