Flyers

Flyers prospect Morgan Frost answering every question along path to NHL

Flyers prospect Morgan Frost answering every question along path to NHL

What more can Morgan Frost do?

It was a question many probably asked for him ahead of his final season at the junior level. Frost toyed with the competition in 2017-18, creating offense that looked unfair at times. The 2017 first-round pick finished with 112 points (42 goals, 70 assists) and a plus-70 rating in 67 regular-season games, as his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds dominated the OHL with a 55-7-6 record and 116 points.

Somehow, though, Frost found a way to get better, to improve the all-around makeup everyone has preached to him since he was drafted 27th overall by the Flyers.

This season, in his final year of junior hockey, everything is elite again from a production perspective. The next-level component is Frost molding the intangibles.

He hasn't settled, when he easily could have with more eye-popping numbers.

"There's not a lot for me to say to Morgan at this point," first-year Sault Ste. Marie head coach John Dean said last Friday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "He's done everything we could possibly ask of him."

He's looking and sounding more and more like an NHL-ready player. 

The dexterous 19-year-old center put up eight points (four goals, four assists) in five games for Team Canada during the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. With the Greyhounds, he has 78 points (31 goals, 47 points) through 40 games.

But here's what has impressed Dean most:

Over the course of the year, I think the greatest thing that has been really fun to watch is to see what kind of a leader he keeps growing into. He leads by example, he puts the young guys under his wing and he's really growing into a 200-foot player.

When you have a player of Morgan Frost's talent and obviously being a first-round pick, when he welcomes you with open arms, it makes life easy on our young guys. 

But he also leads by example on the ice, he manages the puck properly, he makes sure that he knows when he should be making plays and when he shouldn't be. … He's smart in his own zone, he works really hard on the way back and he does it at appropriate times in the game. 

Obviously everyone knows him as an offensive player, but I think he has really evolved away from the puck. It's real easy to point to a guy like that to the rest of his teammates when he's doing the right things with the puck and without the puck.

A specific example of that came Jan. 20 during a game in which Frost scored five goals and "could have scored seven or eight with the opportunities that he got," according to Dean.

"But we were also down by two and he really, really maintained the composure of the bench, he continued to play the 200-foot game even when we were up by two or three goals," Dean said. "The example he set away from the puck, it's starting to get rewarded with the puck."

Over that weekend, Frost scored seven goals and nine points in two games.

And he didn't lose focus of playing the right way.

"I think the intangibles that he provided over the course of the weekend were arguably more important than the goals he scored," Dean said.

So Frost is again scoring at a prolific clip, he has gotten stronger, he plays on Sault Ste. Marie's first-unit power play and penalty kill, he's blossomed into a leader and is working both ends of the ice.

He's making the what-more-can-he-do question unanswerable.

"He's just too smart to not be put in all situations," Dean said. "He's a dependable guy, he knows how to play in those situations, he enjoys the pressure of those situations and, quite honestly, he thrives in those critical minutes of the game."

Frost will be shooting for the Flyers when 2019 training camp rolls around in the fall. He's set to turn pro in 2019-20 and you can bet his eyes will be on Philadelphia, not Lehigh Valley.

He has proven enough for that to be his goal.

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Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The hottest team in hockey will finally host the team that hasn’t turned down the heat all season.

With an NHL best 12-2-1 record since Jan. 12, the Flyers (28-24-7, 63 pts.) will continue their frenzied push for a playoff spot as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-11-4, 94 pts.) for the final time this season.

The Flyers will look to avoid their first season sweep against the Lightning since the 2013-14 season.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials: 

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBCSP
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers recalled goaltender Brian Elliott from his conditioning loan with the Phantoms and have activated him from injured reserve to the active roster (see story). Elliott will back up Carter Hart for tonight’s game against the Lightning.

Hart will be the fourth different Flyers goaltender the Lightning have faced in their last four meetings with Michal Neuvirth, Cal Pickard and Petr Mrazek as the others. 

After a 2-4-1 start to his career, Hart is 11-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage over his last 13 appearances. 

• Tonight’s matchup is the 100th meeting between the Flyers and Lightning with the Flyers owning a 47-37-8-7 advantage.

In the first matchup at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 17, the Lightning became the sixth team in league history to cough up a four-goal lead in the third period before winning 6-5 in overtime. Ironically, the Flyers matched that same dubious feat when they lost a 5-1 lead to the Red Wings on Saturday before Travis Konecny pulled through with the game-winner in overtime.

In the Dec. 27 rematch at Amalie Arena, the Flyers battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, tying the game before Tampa Bay won it again in the OT period.  

• The speed of Lightning has been blinding so far this season. Tampa Bay needed just 58 games to reach the 90-point plateau. Only eight teams in NHL history have topped 90 points prior to their 60th regular-season game.

It’s a good test. If we find a way to squeak into the playoffs it’s a possible matchup for us. We’re excited about this game. The games we’ve played against them have been fun to play. I don’t see why tonight won’t be fun.

-Claude Giroux

Would you believe the 1979-80 Flyers hold the record? Pat Quinn’s team ripped off a 35-game unbeaten streak and started that season with a 39-4-13 mark for 91 points in their first 56 games.

• Tampa Bay is also the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have three 70-point scorers before the 60-game mark of the season. 

Remarkably, the NHL’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy favorite Nikita Kucherov is on pace to finish with a whopping 135 points. Even if Kucherov finishes with 101 points, he will have increased his point total every season since entering the league in 2013-14.

Kucherov comes to Philadelphia on a five-game point streak with seven goals and 11 assists, an average of 3.6 points per game.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jake Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Phil Varone-Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hägg-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

VOORHEES, N.J. — Brian Elliott will be back in a Flyers sweater for the first time since Nov. 15. 

The 33-year-old goaltender was recalled Tuesday from his conditioning assignment with the Phantoms and is expected to back up Carter Hart for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning.

It will be interesting to see what Elliott’s future in Philadelphia is for the remainder of this season with the addition of Cam Talbot, who wasn’t with his new team for Wednesday’s morning skate in Voorhees.

Elliott could be traded to a contending team with no roster restrictions after the Feb. 25 deadline, although NHL teams still have to be compliant with the salary cap.

Once again, the Flyers have three goaltenders on the active roster with Hart, Elliott and Mike McKenna. McKenna could be placed on waivers as soon as Talbot is cleared to join the team.

Elliott played admirably in his 14 games prior to his injury with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. However, his 6-7-0 record doesn’t reflect that. He appeared in two games for the Phantoms over the weekend.

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