Flyers

Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson talks Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, development camp

Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson talks Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, development camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Morgan Frost had filled out his frame since the last time he was here.

Considerably too.

Frost stood by his stall Thursday after the first day of the Flyers' 2018 development camp not only one year older but also noticeably more mature physically. Since Sault Ste. Marie's season concluded one day before Frost turned 19 years old, the 2017 first-round pick had gained nine pounds. He finished the 2017-18 campaign at 175 pounds but came to Voorhees weighing 184.

One day on the beach with U.S. Navy SEALs and Frost has to head back to the cafeteria.

“I actually weighed myself today,” he said. “After training yesterday, I was about 181. Trying to get a good dinner in here.”

If there's one thing holding Frost back from receiving a legitimate opportunity to make the Flyers in training camp, it’s his size. He still needs to add strength. Even on the team’s development-camp roster, he’s listed at 172 pounds. His goal is to play above 180.

With that comes the point of development camp. Teaching prospects how to be professionals, the small details that get overlooked. Think of groceries and laundry, everyday tasks we don’t even think about. The camp is more than just boring hockey drills.

For a prospect like Frost, it’s about learning how to gain the right weight, sustaining it and playing with it. For others, it’s about learning patience and taming the lion inside.

“They can’t get fully developed physically in one summer,” Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson said. “That’s impossible, but they believe that. They go after it and then realize when next season starts, it’s going to take a long time.”

Take Mark Friedman into account.

Friedman, a 2014 third-round pick, is now in his fifth development camp. One has to wonder how much more Friedman can take out of it, even after turning pro last season. But as Samuelsson was quick to note, development camp is a little different for college players.

Because of their amateur status, a college player can't sign an entry-level contract and still play NCAA hockey like a major junior player can. As a result, they can’t participate in training camp and preseason, which was one factor why a prospect like Friedman is here.

Samuelsson said the Flyers require college players to attend development for one year after turning pro.

“We have changed the camp a little bit too,” Samuelsson said. “There’s always new things he can pick up. I honestly think he can learn a lot still. You never stop learning in hockey. I think [Friedman] can learn a lot still and he has a lot to learn just to become a pro.”

Another development camp veteran is Philippe Myers, who the Flyers discovered as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Now in his third camp, Myers is one of the team’s top prospects.

Myers’ first pro season in Lehigh Valley can be split into two tales. The first, Myers suffered through injuries. The second, he started to look like the player that began stealing headlines.

As the Flyers enter this summer looking to add a defenseman, Myers is the team’s best internal option to push for a roster spot in training camp. He’s a right-handed shot who skates well and moves the puck.

But Samuelsson was reluctant to say Myers is NHL-ready.

“If he had played a whole year," Samuelsson said, "maybe he would be close. But he was hurt a lot, so I think he needs more time in the minors."

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Can (and should) Flyers fans trust Alain Vigneault's process?

Can (and should) Flyers fans trust Alain Vigneault's process?

At his introductory press conference on April 18 following a year away from hockey, Alain Vigneault made a joke about why he was ready to get back into the coaching business.

“After a year off and figuring out that I’ll never be the golfer that I thought I would be,” Vigneault said, “it’s time for me to get back to work.”

Perhaps Vigneault had a difficult time sinking putts.

Following the Flyers’ 4-1 loss Saturday night to the Stars, he put out his hands, smiled and made an analogy in relation to his team.

The Flyers had just outshot Dallas 39-16. Over their past two games, the Flyers outshot the opposition 91-38.

A 53-shot advantage.

However, they had just four goals and two losses to show for it.

“It’s like a golfer that’s in regulation but can’t putt,” Vigneault said with a chuckle.

“The process is good. If you look at our overall game tonight, take a look at the scoring chances for and against, we had a pretty dominating performance. Right now, we’re having a tough time finishing.

“At the end of the day right now, we’re having a challenging time as a group finding the back of the net. We’re doing a lot of the right things — traffic, jamming pucks, going hard to the net. But we’re having a tough time making the other team pay for their mistakes. As far as our process and how we’re playing offensively and how we’re playing defensively, you’ve got to like our game.”

Many fans haven’t loved it. The Flyers heard boos Saturday night after the Stars’ empty-net goal in the third period. The Flyers dropped their fourth straight game, which marks the franchise’s first four-game losing streak in October since the 2014-15 season, when it opened the year 0-2-2.

While the Flyers, who are 2-3-1, have dictated games, the bottom line is they have to score goals. The really good teams create the chances but also finish them. It’s hard to sell to your fans that everything is fine, the process is good, when you’re outscored 10-4 in consecutive regulation losses. These same fans have seen too many slow Octobers. The Flyers are now 28-36-7 during this month in the last seven seasons.

Then again, this is not Vigneault’s first rodeo. It is his first chance at guiding the Flyers, who have taken on his system and looked much better in doing so.

And Vigneault certainly understands the process.

If Flyers fans want to trust him and take solace in something, consider some of Vigneault’s best teams and how they started.

The 2013-14 Rangers opened the season 2-6-0 and were 16-18-2 at Dec. 20 but went to the Stanley Cup Final. It was Vigneault’s first year in New York.

The 2006-07 Canucks — another first year on the job for Vigneault — started 8-10-1 but finished with 49 wins, 105 points and a playoff series victory.

The 2014-15 Rangers began 7-7-4 but ended up with 53 wins and the Presidents' Trophy (113 points).

The 2010-11 Canucks started 2-3-2 and were 10-7-3 after 20 games but won the Presidents' Trophy (117 points) and came one win away from a Stanley Cup title.

“I know our guys are disappointed but our work ethic, you know, we’ve got our work boots on here and we’re trying real hard,” Vigneault said of the Flyers. “As a coach, when your team is giving you 100 percent of what they have — and I believe that’s what we did again tonight — you’ve got to support your players, you’ve got to be behind them and trust them, and I’m very confident things are going to work out.”

Just how confident are Flyers fans? They’ve been patient long enough.

Vigneault will have to make sure, this time, their patience finally pays off.

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Most frustrating loss yet gives Flyers their first 4-game skid in October since 2014-15

Most frustrating loss yet gives Flyers their first 4-game skid in October since 2014-15

BOX SCORE

The Flyers have a slogan this season that reads "all or nothing."

The Flyers did nothing with prime opportunities in a prime chance to quell an early three-game skid.

That losing streak ballooned to four Saturday night as the Flyers lost to the Stars, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Following some lengthy travel over a 20-day span (the team was in four different countries), the Flyers (2-3-1) scored 43 seconds into Saturday's home game and could have taken the life out of struggling Dallas, which entered 1-7-1. Instead, the Flyers fizzled despite holding the Stars to five shots over the final two periods.

The Flyers hadn't lost four straight games in October since the 2014-15 season, when they opened the year 0-2-2 (see story).

• The Flyers' first period was really disappointing for a few reasons and it changed the entire complexion of the game.

After the team jumped out to its lead in the opening minute, the Flyers went on the power play two seconds later but didn't capitalize.

Seven seconds after the Stars tied the game at the 13-minute mark, Dallas committed a silly tripping penalty behind the Flyers' net. It gave the Flyers another chance to regain momentum but the man advantage came up empty.

The Flyers ended up trailing, 2-1, at first intermission. They have three first-period goals through six games — that won't get it done.

• Last season, Carter Hart was pulled in his fifth career start. He went 11-3-1 with an NHL-high 488 saves, a 2.46 goals-against average and .930 save percentage over his next 15 starts before he was pulled again.

Hart was yanked Wednesday in Edmonton after allowing four goals on 14 shots.

On Saturday, he could have been much better. He allowed three goals on 15 shots and failed to deliver timely stops like we've seen him do in the past.

Dallas' first goal came on a nice play by Roope Hintz, who beat Matt Niskanen and then scored on his own rebound. The second goal, Esa Lindell snuck in front of Niskanen on the Stars' power play and redirected a pass by Hart.

Niskanen, who has been pretty darn good so far, was not on his game Saturday.

Hart allowed a killer goal 1:24 into the third period.

Ben Bishop made 38 saves to beat the Flyers.

• The Flyers' power play finished 0 for 4.

Ivan Provorov replaced Shayne Gostisbehere on the first unit. Gostisbehere is scoreless through the first six games and will have to earn back his role.

Dallas, which was 1 for 25 on the man advantage coming into the game, went 1 for 2.

• Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier gave the Flyers the loud start that ultimately led to nothing.

• If you recall, Wayne Simmonds fought Jamie Oleksiak last season in Pittsburgh.

Oleksiak is a big dude, standing at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds.

Chris Stewart challenged Oleksiak during the opening period as the Flyers had lost momentum and an early 1-0 lead.

It was a heavyweight bout.

• A note on prospect Joel Farabee, who is off to a fast start yet again. How long will he be in Lehigh Valley if he keeps scoring?

• The Flyers are off from practice Sunday before welcoming the Golden Knights Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Four of their next five games then come on the road.

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