Flyers fans got a taste of the future last week when the rookies took the ice against the rookies from the New York Islanders. Highly-touted prospects Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, and Isaac Ratcliffe took the ice to form a line that fans, even analysts alike, salivated at the thought of. Three of the highest regarded prospects the Flyers have, together, on one line. Hextall’s plan of patience really worked out, didn’t it?
Without putting the carriage TOO far in front of the horse, you could say that it did work. Three of the biggest names in the Flyers prospect pool are together on a line for the Flyers. Albeit in the preseason, but none the less. The taste that fans got last week was enough to get them excited, and rightfully so. Talks about Farabee or Frost making the jump have been plentiful, with names like Rubtsov and Aube-Kubel also being prevalent. However, keeping the FFR line intact for an AHL season may benefit them in the long run.
On one wing, you have Isaac Ratcliffe. Coming into the draft, he was highly regarded as a great net-front presence. Dan Stewart, scouting director for Future Considerations, said that Ratcliffe was, “Dangerous anywhere around the crease.” Dominic Tiano of OHL Writers added, “Right now, he’s probably the best prospect in front of the goal, battling for space and loose pucks and banging in rebounds.”
If Ratcliffe can find his home in front of the opposing goalie, it’s going to make life very easy for his linemates. Standing currently at 6ft 6in, and weighing in at 204lbs, Ratcliffe has the ideal size for a net-front guy. Screening the goalie with someone of Ratcliffe’s size creates a lot of opportunity for Farabee and Frost. Mark Schieg of The Hockey Writers probably summed it up best, saying, “He could be a force in front of the opponent’s net for years to come.”
On the other wing, you’ll have Joel Farabee. Farabee has a motor that just doesn’t stop, evidenced by his play in last week’s rookie game. His skating is dynamite, and his speed is “jersey-flapping,” as put by a scout at Future Considerations. Schieg from The Hockey Writers goes on to say, “His fearlessness and work ethic make him a load to handle in the offensive zone.” Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects states that Farabee is, “Blessed with top-level skating ability and a mind for creating offense, the New York native can also be trusted in his own zone which facilitates further opportunities from the coaching staff.”
With Farabee creating space due to his speed and possessing a quick release with his shot, it creates a great dynamic. Farabee can take the shots, and Ratcliffe can bury the rebound if necessary. A one-two punch that will surely be a nuisance to opposing teams once they find their footing among the professional ranks.
To cap things off, you have a center in Morgan Frost who is as intelligent on the ice as they come. “He’s got a knack of seeing a play one to two steps ahead of everyone else,” Mark Schieg describes. “The thing that stands out about Frost on tape and in person is how smart he is.”
Not only is his intelligence an asset to his game, but his speed also has people clamoring as well. Schieg goes on to say, “He can use his speed to create chances and isn’t afraid to make his own plays if the opportunity presents itself.” When comparing Frost to an NHL player, Brock Otten a McKeen’s Hockey contributor said, “Think David Krejci, Vincent Trocheck.”
So with one big winger screening the goalie, another flying around the ice creating space, you have Frost handling the puck, quarterbacking the plays and seeing things a step or two ahead of everyone else out on the ice.
Frost, Farabee, and Ratcliffe coming up through the ranks together could be the perfect way to progress them along. They all possess a different skill set, but those skillsets gel together almost perfectly. No two are the same type of player, and having three separate types of players making up one line could be a recipe for a phenomenal line if they stay together.
Lehigh Valley is sure in for a treat when they see these three take the ice together this season. In another year or so, Philadelphia will be in for that same treat.