Quick Hits: Aug. 24, 2019
1) When general managers and coaches refer to a young player having a chance at a roster spot if he has an outstanding training camp, a large percentage of fans view it solely in terms of how the player fares in preseason games. In reality, game nights are only part of the evaluation. There is also significant weight given to the daily drills at practice: How quickly does the youngster grasp the systems work? How does he handle the rapid pacing, which is faster than anything they saw during rookie camp? How does he fare in battle drills? How far along did he come in preseason fitness testing?
For Morgan Frost, although this year will be his third September camp with the Flyers, he hasn't spent much time yet in the NHL team phase of camp. During his first camp with the Flyers (2017), he was returned to the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sept. 14; the same day that full camp started. Last year, he fared well during Rookie Camp and posted a three-point game (1G, 2A) in the Rookies Game. However, in the opinion of then-GM Ron Hextall and then-head coach Dave Hakstol, Frost struggled to keep up once full camp started. After one preseason game in which he received sparing ice time, he was returned to the Greyhounds following the Flyers practice on Sept. 18, 2018.
"It was pretty obvious, not only in the game, but in practice, that he wasn’t ready for this. He’s 19 years old, we told him today. It is not a crime [to struggle in NHL camp] at 19." Hextall said at the time. “We watch practices hard. Every day matters. If you can’t keep up or you lose pace, it’s time. It was pretty obvious; it was an easy decision. That’s not a knock. He’s a typical 19-year-old kid.’’
Frost, who turned 20 on May 14 of this year, spent much of the past year working on areas that the Flyers told him to focus on: using his natural speed to play at a quicker pace, being a little harder to take off the puck in close quarters, and being a little stronger in taking the puck away from opponents.
This time around, Frost will have to lean on the benefit of past learning experiences and the organic progression of his game and physical development over the last two seasons to make a push at earning an NHL roster spot out of camp. He figures to fare better than last year, but will it be enough to break camp with the Flyers rather than with the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Fellow first-year pro Isaac Ratcliffe is in the largely the same boat in his third camp. He enters 2019 training camp having only had a few days of NHL camp last year after having been cut in 2017 at the beginning of main camp.
In the case of 2018 first-round pick Joel Farabee, this year marks both his first Rookie Camp and first NHL Camp. Under NCAA rules that prohibit players from missing class to attend a training camp, Farabee was unable to participate last September.
This year will be Philippe Myers' third pro season and fourth full camp with the Flyers. It took Travis Sanheim until his fourth NHL camp to earn an opening night spot on the big club. Not even Ivan Provorov (second camp) or Travis Konecny (second camp) were deemed ready their first camp. Nolan Patrick made it his first camp after being the second overall pick of the 2017 Draft, despite coming off bilteral hernia surgery and not being particularly dominant in camp.
2) With the Flyers having 10 of their prospects in the NCAA and six more in Sweden (where the regular season starts in September), this year's Rookie Camp group figures to be a bit smaller than in past years. That gives the Flyers the ability to look at some other prospects via camp invites. A full camp roster will be posted when available. In the recent past, both Phil Myers and Yegor Zamula earned entry-level contracts with the Flyers via Rookie Camp invites as undrafted free agents.
3) The Philadelphia Flyers Warriors hockey team, the wounded military veteran hockey team sponsored by the Flyers, recently announced on Twitter that they will be playing a game against the Pittsburgh Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center on Sept. 16; the same day that the Flyers take on the New York Islanders in a preseason match.
4) For a rundown of the top moments, the funniest quotes and a results recap from the recent Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp, click here
5) Today in Flyers History: On Aug. 24, 1982, Bob "the Count" Dailey announced his retirement as an active player at age 29. A two-time NHL All-Star Game participant and two-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy during his Flyers career, the hard-shooting Dailey suffered a shattered ankle after he went into the boards awkwardly after a hit by Buffalo's Tony McKegney in a game on Nov. 1, 1981 (the same night Pelle Lindbergh made his NHL debut and ended up in the hospital due to severe dehydration). Dailey attempted a comeback four years later, but it was short-lived as he could no longer keep up with even the pace of the AHL during a brief stint with the Hershey Bears.
6) Aug. 24 Flyers Alumni birthday: Norm Barnes (1953), Don "Smokey" McLeod (1946-2015).