Flyers

An opponent's perspective on 'special' Flyers prospect Morgan Frost

An opponent's perspective on 'special' Flyers prospect Morgan Frost

Cory Stillman played 1,000-plus games in the NHL over a 16-year career. He won two Stanley Cups. He has worked in player development at the highest level.

Now, he's the head coach of the OHL's Sudbury Wolves, who went from 17-42-19 last season to 43-20-3 and a playoff series victory this season, Stillman's second year on the job.

He knows the game, and for fives games, his team faced Flyers prospect Morgan Frost during the 2018-19 regular season. The 2017 first-round pick, a package of skill, speed and smarts, put up five goals in one of those matchups, a 7-5 Sault Ste. Marie victory over Sudbury on Jan. 20.

"He just seemed like he kept going by the bench scoring," Stillman said with a laugh.

What were his impressions of Frost?

"Morgan is a special player," Stillman said Thursday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "The puck follows him around and he makes players around him better. On that night, you give him a chance to score, and he scored some highlight goals against us."

Frost finished with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in the five games against Stillman's Wolves. Impressively, in the final meeting, Sudbury won, 3-1, and held Frost scoreless. That didn't happen often for Frost. The 19-year-old went without a point just eight times in 58 games. He scored 109 points (37 goals, 72 assists) this season after recording 112 (42 goals, 70 assists) in 67 games last season. Over his final two junior hockey seasons, he was a plus-103.

Those totals have Flyers fans excited about Frost turning pro in 2019-20. Stillman understands why and he won't miss game planning for Frost, like the Wolves did tirelessly in the last matchup.

"He single-handedly beat us probably four times," Stillman said. "On that night, we switched a bit, we put a guy right on him to check that whenever he was on the ice, he shadowed him. In saying that, our goalie also had to come up with some big saves because [Frost is] always going to get two to three chances a hockey game. That night there, we tried to frustrate him, but usually it takes him one pass, one shot, one goal and then you can see the ice tilt in his favor."

In January, Sault Ste. Marie head coach John Dean commended Frost for playing a 200-foot game and in all situations (see story).

Frost, like any other prospect, will have to adjust to the pro level — the physicality, the pace, the lack of space and playing without the puck. Starting next season at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley seems most likely for the playmaking center, who will have to prove his size, strength and 200-foot play with the Phantoms in order to climb to the Flyers.

"I hope this team becomes a harder team to make as we get deeper and add players," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last month. "Obviously, of course somebody can come in and make the team, but they're going to have to earn it. We're not looking to just put players on the team. 

"I think the American League is a great developmental league. I think it's an important place for most players to spend some time. Having said that, I don't like cutting players in April. There are some talented kids coming out of junior, coming out of college. We'll let their play determine how they do."

What has been determined is Frost made his graduation from the OHL quite clear.

"You can tell he's been in the league for four years," Stillman said. "You can see the confidence he has when he has the puck and the plays that he's willing to make or try to make. And the nights that he's on, he makes it look so easy.

"When he gets the puck in the neutral zone coming through with speed, it's either you take his speed away or he creates his own space. When he does that, the ice opens up and he will see the right play 99 percent of the time."

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Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Joel Farabee was 5 years old when Sidney Crosby made his NHL debut.

One would understand if Farabee was nervous playing against the two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion for the first time as a teenage rookie in the NHL.

But Farabee has more than held his own against some of the league's biggest stars, which says a lot about the Flyers' 2018 first-round pick who just turned 20 years old in February.

“Wow, there are a lot of good players in the NHL," Farabee said Monday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast when asked who was the toughest player he has faced in 2019-20. "Just playing against Sidney Crosby a few times was really cool, I think he had a few points in both the games that I played in. You could see him in warmups and stuff like that, how focused he is and he’s such a good player, he sees the ice so well.

“Another player I’d say is Nathan MacKinnon, how good he is, how fast of a skater he is. Those are two guys I definitely get excited playing against just because of how good they are. I enjoy being on the ice with them.”

When the Flyers beat the Penguins, 3-0, on Jan. 21, Farabee played on a line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. That trio faced Crosby's line a bunch and No. 87 went scoreless as the Flyers shut out Pittsburgh.

The Flyers had no fear putting Farabee in such a situation. He also played on the same line Feb. 1, when the Flyers held MacKinnon to no points in a 6-3 win over the Avalanche.

In five combined games against the Penguins and Avalanche, Farabee has put up four points (two goals, two assists) — and his role grew with each matchup.

The path to his NHL dream prepared Farabee for those moments.

“Leaving to go to prep school at 14 I think it was, it was definitely totally different, I had never really lived away from home," Farabee said. "Being able to live away from home, play on a team really helped me out, it forced myself to rely on teammates. I think when I was really young, I was a really shy kid, didn’t really want to talk to people because I was so shy. Being away from home really taught me how to be an adult and how to grow up outside of hockey more or less playing hockey.”

And at 20 years old, Farabee is just getting started for the Flyers.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: Joel Farabee joins the crew to talk all things Flyers

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by special guest Joel Farabee.

From how Farabee is staying busy during the NHL hiatus to his bond with teammates, let's dive in:

1:30 — The Flyers' regular season would have finished by now

4:20 — Neutral site playoff games at smaller venues?

7:00 — More teams in the playoffs makes a lot of sense

13:35 — Farabee back home in upstate New York

15:00 — Cooking during the quarantine and life in the NHL

16:50 — Michael Raffl's haircut!

17:25 — Farabee "carrying" his teammates on Xbox

18:30 — Playing under a coach like Alain Vigneault

20:20 — Leaving home at 14 to pursue an NHL career

21:25 — Toughest players to compete against and the NHL adjustment

22:45 — Favorite road trip of the season

• 23:20 — Growing up a Philly sports fan

• 24:00 — Staying in shape during the stoppage

• 25:35 — Great to hear Flyers players in good spirits 

• 27:35 — An example of Emmer's Minnesota roots

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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