Frost's juicy opportunity, ‘fill some of' Couturier's shoes and more on Flyers


It's Morgan Frost time.

The Flyers will be without their best player for at least two weeks as Sean Couturier recovers from a costochondral separation.

Frost, a touted and talented prospect waiting in the wings, is getting his chance down the middle two games into the 2020-21 season.

And the opportunity is a good one.

Let's get into that and more in three Flyers thoughts.

1. Smack-dab in the middle

Given the Flyers are 2-0-0 and have scored 11 goals, head coach Alain Vigneault wants to stay away from juggling his lines until it appears adjustments need to be made.

So Frost is going to jump in between Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny.

Here were the Flyers' combinations at forward in Sunday's practice, according to The Athletic's Charlie O'Connor.

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee

James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek

Oskar Lindblom-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny

Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

"He deserves this opportunity to play with T.K. and Oskar," Vigneault said Sunday about Frost. "What went into our decision also was we feel that the other lines are building some chemistry. I think Hayesy's line is building chemistry, they had a real good first game, the second game was maybe a little bit more average there. I thought Nolan with James and Jakey are slowly but surely getting some good chemistry. And I like Scotty Laughton's line.

"Instead of shuffling everything; Morgan is considered to be a skilled, offensive player — well, I might as well put him in that role, and that role with T.K. and Oskar, he's playing with two pretty good players."

Frost's M.O. going back to his junior days is a dizzying type of playmaker. The 2017 first-round pick oozes creativity with a make-things-happen skill set. Frost, who is in his second season at the pro level, put up 221 points (79 goals, 142 assists) and a plus-103 rating in 125 regular-season games over his final two OHL seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Placing Frost with Lindblom and Konecny gives him a prime opportunity to produce offensively.

"They're both tremendous players, they both can create plays and they're both elite goal scorers," Frost said Sunday. "I'll try to put the puck on their stick as much as I can in good areas. Just try to feed off them, they've established themselves in this league. They're really good players and I'm excited for the opportunity. I'm going to do whatever I can to make plays for them and hopefully be in position for them to make plays for me."

2. Not replacing Mr. Selke

Nobody is going to ask Frost to be Couturier. They are different players in different stages of their careers. Couturier has become a put-it-all-on-my-plate player who is arguably the top 200-foot center in hockey. The 21-year-old Frost has worked on his overall game. Vigneault's system allows for creativity but, at the end of the day, it's predicated on 200 feet and possession.

"I understand the game a lot better from a 200-foot perspective," Frost said. "It was definitely a leap coming from junior but you understand you don't have as much time with the puck, you've got to make smarter plays, sometimes it's area plays, it's not always going to be getting around guys and making tape-to-tape passes.

"On the defensive side of the puck, you really have to work hard and make sure you're in a good position with your stick and body.

"Coots is one of the best players in the league, so pretty big shoes to fill. I'll do whatever I can to help the team win and try to fill some of his shoes."

As Frost has focused on consistency in all three zones, being himself is important, too. Play smart and value the puck but also play aggressively.

"Frosty, he's an exciting player," Kevin Hayes said Sunday. "He's a great kid, he works hard, he's fun to be around, he really wants to learn.

"His game is fun to watch. If he plays the right way defensively, he's going to provide some serious offense for this team. I think as a team, our coaches and our management, are relying on him to do that."

3. Goalies and Ghost

With the Flyers playing their first of eight back-to-back sets this season when they welcome the Sabres, they'll have Carter Hart start Monday and Brian Elliott on Tuesday.

Shayne Gostisbehere is not expected back Monday as he remains unavailable because of COVID protocol. The 27-year-old defenseman has not practiced with the Flyers since Jan. 8.

The last time the Flyers started 3-0-0 was the 2011-12 season.

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