The Flyers had a notable addition on the ice for practice on Monday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, one day ahead of visiting the Florida Panthers to start a two-game southern road trip. Twenty-year-old Morgan Frost, selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut in Sunrise on Tuesday.
Frost will start Tuesday's game centering a line with Claude Giroux on left wing and Travis Konecny on the right. Giroux, one of the NHL's best faceoff men, will take most of the draws on the line.
"I think I've been coming along real well, aside from the points. Just trying to learn the pro game and get better at that," Frost said of his 16-game stint with the Phantoms to start the season.
When the call came for Frost to inform him of his first NHL recall, he was at home.
"It was kind of crazy. We had a day off in Lehigh, and [Isaac] Ratcliffe and I were just playing video games. Scott Gordon's name showed up on my phone. I wasn't sure what it was for at first, and then he told me. It was an amazing feeling... First person I told was my dad, on Facetime. I think it's the first time he's ever used FaceTime," said Frost, adding that his parents are planning to make the trip to Florida to see his NHL debut.
After being kept off the scoresheet in his first three pro games, Frost rattled off a seven-game point streak for the Phantoms. Offensive production has been hard for the entire Lehigh Valley Phantoms team to come in the last 10 days or so, including Frost, but Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon was pleased with how Frost's overall game has progressed over the team's 16 games.
"I had a talk with Scott and with Chuck [Fletcher] -- I talk with Scott about once a week -- and I heard good reports about how Morgan's game has been coming around. We know he's a talented player offensively, and we want to put him in a position where we think it's best for our team, and will put him in a spot to succeed, so he's going to start out playing with G and with TK," said head coach Alain Vigneault.
Frost even rotated a couple times onto Giroux's power play unit at Monday's practice, although Jakub Voracek took the majority of the reps on the unit.
The Frost recall, apart from enabling Giroux to move back to left wing, also frees up Michael Raffl to return to centering the third line.
NEWS AND NOTES:
* Vigneault placed James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek on a line with Kevin Hayes. All three players have scuffled at times to play to their full capabilities. Vigneault -- who told the players the same thing before speaking to the media -- challenged to trio to help each other collectively pick up the pace, especially offensively.
"There are two sides; the people and the hockey player. I love the people, but I need a little more from the hockey players. It's been 20 games and it's time for us to get going, especially at five-on-five, which is an area where we still need to get better. I'm not telling you [media] anything I haven't said to them, and those guys would all say the same thing," Vigneault said.
* Matt Niskanen took a maintenance day off from practice on Monday. He was a little banged up from games last week and had been a game-day decision on Saturday, electing to suit up against the Islanders. Niskanen is expected to be in the lineup on Tuesday, but that is not yet set in stone. Phil Myers stood in for Niskanen on the Couturier power play unit, while Robert Hägg took reps with Ivan Provorov during line rushes.
* Myers had a run of excellent games, including goals in three straight games, before an uneven performance against Washington and then what Vigneault felt was a well below-par night in Ottawa on Friday. The youngster was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
"In Ottawa, he could have been responsible for nine scoring chances against, with [coverages] and turnovers. Not everyone is going to play great, but it was at a level where I felt he could use a reset. Phil is going to get back out there, maybe tomorrow," Vigneault said.
* Scott Laughton (surgery to repair a broken finger) once again participated in practice wearing a white no-contact jersey. He will continue to practice this week, and then see the doctor on Thursday. According to Vigneault, if all goes well with the doctor visit and at practice on Friday, Laughton could be activated from LTIR and dress for the Calgary game on Saturday afternoon.
* Flyer practice lines on Monday were as follows:
Lindblom - Couturier - Farabee
Giroux - Frost - Konencny
van Riemsdyk - Hayes - Voracek
Andreoff - Raffl - Pitilick
Stewart - Laughton (non-contact)
Provorov - Hägg
Gostisbehere - Braun
Sanheim - Myers