Flush with talent down the middle, the Flyers find themselves without some of those key pieces. Nolan Patrick is still officially “week-to-week” with his migraine disorder. Scott Laughton is out for about 3 more weeks with a broken hand. This headache at the center position is giving many fans a broken heart.
To compensate, the Flyers slid captain Claude Giroux to center. They also called up German Rubtsov to play on the fourth line. While the Flyers have four centers, adding a fifth to the mix is what most people are clamoring about.
Sure, this move makes sense on paper. You have a budding young star in the midst of a successful point streak. He’s appeared to have found his footing in the AHL, so the next step is the NHL, right? Let’s dig deeper into the pros and cons of a Morgan Frost call-up.
This is an obvious one, but one that bears repeating. With Frost on an Entry-Level contract, he doesn’t need to clear waivers. If he comes up and lays an egg, sending him down is as easy as snapping your fingers.
Fills the Hole Left by Laughton/Patrick
With the Flyers bottom six centers both out with injuries, Morgan Frost could fill one of those holes. Frost would likely center the third line, keeping Rubtsov on the fourth line. Given, Laughton is only out three more weeks, but if Frost proves his worth, the Flyers may decide to keep him over Rubtsov. That would bump Laughton back to 4C, and keep the more-skilled Frost at 3C.
If the whole Frost experiment doesn’t pan out the way most think it will, then Laughton slots back in at 3C while Rubtsov remains the 4C.
Moves Giroux Back to the Wing
This is arguably the biggest benefit of a Frost call-up. It’s no secret that Claude Giroux is better on the wing at this stage in his career. Giroux would have less responsibilities, which would free him up to work more on the offensive side to his game.
If Frost became 3C, that moves Kevin Hayes up to the 2C role, and Sean Couturier up to his rightful spot on the top line. Given the success of the Couturier-Konecny-Lindblom line, Hayes may even slot into the 1C role. The Flyers would still have the talent at center, but would now have some depth as well.
Likely a Short-Term Fix
This is how call-ups typically work. When a player gets injured, an AHL player, or healthy scratch, slots in and plays until the initially injured player is healthy again. With that being said, Frost’s call-up could be short-lived if it happens.
Three weeks is still a decent amount of time to gauge if Frost is ready for the NHL. However, it may not be long enough to quench the thirst of a ravenous fanbase who has been looking forward to this moment for awhile now. A demotion after those three weeks could rile up a fanbase that lives in a constant state of frustration.
If Sent Back Down, Could be a Blow to his Confidence
This one is a bit tricky. You never know how a player is going to respond to a demotion until it happens. Take defenseman Travis Sanheim, for example. Sanheim started the 2017/18 season with the Flyers, but just couldn’t get anything going. He was ultimately sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to work out the kinks.
Fast forward about a month or so, and Sanheim was scoring at a point-per-game pace in the AHL, and earned himself a call-up. He hasn’t been a Phantom since.
Not every player responds like Sanheim, but Frost seems determined enough to be able to take a demotion in stride, especially considering the way his season has been going in the AHL to this point.
Disrupting Frost’s Hot Streak
Morgan Frost is kicking off his AHL career with a bang. Sure, three games in he still had no points to show for it. The past 7 games, however, he’s been on an absolute tear.
Building confidence this early on in his professional career is essential to his development. If Frost remains in the AHL and adds to his point streak, it could send his confidence skyrocketing. Sure, a call-up would send it through the roof, but if he can’t maintain that level of success in the NHL, it could also curb his confidence.
Calling up Morgan Frost is a risky proposition, but one that could payout in spades if he can maintain the level of play from his last 7 games.