Tom Dougherty

Morgan Frost sets the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship on fire

Morgan Frost sets the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship on fire

It didn't take long for a Flyers prospect to put their stamp on the 2019 IIHF Wolrd Junior Championship, and what an introduction it was.

Morgan Frost on Wednesday registered a hat trick and an assist in the first 21 minutes and 50 seconds of Team Canada's 14-0 shellacking of Denmark.

Frost finished the game's final 38:50 with a disappointing one assist. Still, it was a heck of a debut for Frost on the world junior stage — three goals and two assists.

The trajectory of Frost's development since the Flyers drafted him with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 draft is quite astonishing, especially when we look back to draft night when most were caught off-guard by the selection.

Despite torching the OHL last season, even before the rosters were finalized, Frost didn't make the cut for Team Canada for the 2018 World Junior Championship. Canada didn't need him as it won gold, but that just shows the talent level Hockey Canada has.

This season, however, Frost made the cut, and he immediately made an impact. What an exciting prospect.

Isaac Ratcliffe, whom the Flyers drafted eight picks after Frost in 2017, reacted to Frost's world junior debut accordingly.

But, perhaps, we should seriously prepare for this.

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Future Flyers Report: The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship primer

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Christina Daly | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Future Flyers Report: The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship primer

Happy holidays and welcome to one of the most exciting weeks in junior hockey. The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off Wednesday in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

The 10-team, 11-day tournament runs through Jan. 5, 2019, and offers hockey fans a glimpse into the future with the best junior players from around the world participating.

For Flyers fans, the world juniors have been especially must-see viewing in recent years. While the past three weeks have brought major change throughout the organization, this year’s tournament is no different. Flyers fans will have plenty to watch over the next 11 days.

Carter Hart and Team Canada won the 2018 WJC. Hart, of course, is with the Flyers now. The Flyers have seven players in this year’s games. Let’s get you ready for the 2019 tournament. 

Team USA

The Americans are the team fans will want to pay most attention to as they feature four Flyers prospects — forwards Joel Farabee, Jay O’Brien, Noah Cates and defenseman Jack St. Ivany.

Cates is a 2017 fifth-round pick while Farabee, O’Brien and St. Ivany are 2018 draft picks. All four have chosen the NCAA route. The Flyers had no prospects on the 2018 U.S. team.

Over the summer, we profiled Farabee (Boston University), O’Brien (Providence College) and Cates (Minnesota-Duluth). St. Ivany is in his freshman campaign at Yale University.

This season, Farabee has 11 points in 16 games; O’Brien has two points in 10 games and has dealt with injuries; Cates has seven points in 16 games; and St. Ivany, eight points in 12 games.

Team Canada

After not cracking the 2018 roster, Morgan Frost will represent Canada this year, and it should come as no surprise. Frost has been one of the best junior players over the past two seasons.

Frost, this season, is third in the OHL in scoring with 58 points, scoring 1.81 points per game, which is also third in the league. He has 22 points in his last 10 games with Sault Ste. Marie.

Team Sweden

Sweden features two Flyers prospects: defenseman Adam Ginning and goaltender Samuel Ersson, both 2018 draft picks. Ginning is a 6-foot-4 stay-at-home defenseman who has four points in 25 games this season with Linköping HC of the SHL. Ersson is having a pretty solid campaign with Västerås IK of the Allsvenskan, posting a .941 save percentage in 17 games.

How to watch

The NHL Network (NHLN) in the United States and TSN in Canada will broadcast the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Here’s a schedule for Teams USA, Canada and Sweden.

Team USA

Dec. 26: vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 28: vs. Kazakhstan, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. Sweden, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Finland, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN

Team Canada

Dec. 26: vs. Denmark, 8 p.m. — NHLN (in progress)
Dec. 27: vs. Switzerland, 8 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. Czech Republic, 8 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Russia, 8 p.m. — NHLN

Team Sweden

Dec. 26: vs. Finland, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 27: vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m. —airing Dec. 28, 8 a.m. on NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. United States, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Kazakhstan, 6:30 p.m. — airing Jan. 1, 8 a.m. on NHLN

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Sergei Bobrovsky-Carter Hart duel gives Flyers firsthand look at tough decision ahead

Sergei Bobrovsky-Carter Hart duel gives Flyers firsthand look at tough decision ahead

It took six days into the Chuck Fletcher era for the Flyers to reenter the rumor business. Two weeks ago, there were whispers they will take a run at Sergei Bobrovsky on July 1.

On Saturday afternoon, the Flyers witnessed firsthand why that might be a solid idea even if it does potentially block Carter Hart from taking over as their No. 1 goalie full-time.

Bobrovsky stood on his head in the Columbus crease, stopping 34 pucks and making highlight-reel saves look routine. The Flyers fell, 4-3, to their former goalie's Blue Jackets.

"I try not to think about what's happened in the past," Bobrovsky said. "I have a huge amount of respect for this organization, for this club, but it's hockey."

This wasn't totally a case of the Flyers outplaying an opponent and simply running into a two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie. There were defensive breakdowns, careless turnovers and Ivan Provorov's confidence with the puck remains a huge concern (see observations).

That said, this wasn't totally a case of the Flyers flat-out being dominated either. The Flyers had 67 shot attempts to Columbus' 30 and peppered Bobrovsky with 37 shots on net. The advanced metrics largely favor the Flyers. They ended an 0-for-13 power-play drought, though the man advantage finished 1 for 4 and didn't completely change that narrative.

"As I said to the players after the game," interim head coach Scott Gordon said, "with the exception of the plays on the goals, we played a game where we certainly had our fair share of chances, we limited the amount of opportunities. We should go to New York feeling confident about our game. I think we've had a level of consistency in the three games to know that we're starting to build some momentum as to how we want to play."

When it comes to discussing the Flyers' goalie situation, it's important to weigh the now vs. the future, something this organization has historically struck out on so much.

When it comes to talking Flyers goaltending, it's important to learn from the malpractice that took place with Bobrovsky, an undrafted free-agent signing that had all the tools already in his toolbox that led to him winning the Vezina in his first season in Columbus.

The Flyers have never known how to develop a goalie. History doesn't lie, so when it comes to how they should handle their current situation, it's hard to know exactly what to do.

Hart is here, for now, and he made his third straight start Saturday. His stat line was ugly — four goals on 19 shots — but it doesn't tell the whole story. Egregious turnovers and defensive breakdowns led to three of the four goals. The loss isn't on Hart.

Bobrovsky can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and all signs point to him testing the market. He has a legitimate case to cash out this summer as the highest-paid goalie in the NHL and if the Flyers are going to "take a run" at him, they're going to have to muster up the big bucks. The Flyers certainly know what he can do, and they saw it again Saturday. In fact, this season, Bobrovsky is 3-0-0 with 89 saves on 98 shots.

There is a way to make this work, a way where Hart receives a little more AHL seasoning and Bobrovsky handles the No. 1 job. It's important to remember that Hart is 20. The Flyers have to handle this goalie dilemma properly this time around. They didn't with Bobrovsky by signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract.

The Flyers need a goalie to get to Hart. It was Ron Hextall's biggest failure as GM. Hart is in The Show now and for all we know, he may change the narrative himself. He may prove that he's ready to handle all of the pressures that come with being the No. 1 goalie in the city known as the NHL goaltending graveyard.

But if he's not, and Bobrovsky's swimming in those waters come July 1, there isn't a better bridge to Hart than the one they should have never given up on prematurely.

Saturday was just a reminder of what could have been.

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