The NHL trade deadline (Monday, February 24th) is rapidly approaching and the playoffs are set to commence in early April. As two of the most critical time periods on the 2019-20 NHL calendar draw near, how will things shake out in the next few months for the Philadelphia Flyers? The Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, may prove to be a critical piece in determining what the future holds.
In 53 games played, the Phantoms have a record of 22-24-1-6 (51 points). They currently sit in the seventh spot of the AHL’s Atlantic Division, 19 points behind the first place Hershey Bears (32-16-3-3). Although it has not been an incredibly successful year thus far for Lehigh Valley, there have been some bright spots.
In his very first season of professional hockey, center Morgan Frost has proven himself to be a star in the making. Despite only suiting up for 32 games with the Phantoms, the 6’0”, 180-pound rookie is third on the team in points (23), tied for second in goals (10), and tied for third in assists (13). He put up three points (2 goals, 1 assist) in back-to-back games last weekend, including a brilliant one-time blast against the Hershey Bears on Sunday.
It did not take long for Morgan Frost to get his first shot at playing time with the Flyers, making his NHL debut on November 19, 2019, against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. The newcomer put a gorgeous backhander past Sergei Bobrovsky in the second period for his first ever NHL goal.
The 20-year-old has gone on to play 20 games with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019-20. He has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists), and has 10 takeaways in 13:41 of average ice time. His most recent call up came February 7th through the 14th due to a Joel Farabee illness. Frost played in two games and was a healthy scratch for two. He was loaned back to the Phantoms due to the Flyers’ current roster crunch.
Defenseman Mark Friedman is another notable member of the Lehigh Valley roster. The Toronto, Ontario native has 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 39 games including two assists against the Hershey Bears on Sunday. Friedman is quick on his feet and has a strong, physical game.
The 5’11” blueliner was called up to the Flyers for five games in January. Four of those games came against current Stanley Cup playoff contenders. Friedman recorded one assist, four blocks and was +1 during that stint. He was called back up to the Flyers today to help with defensive depth while Shayne Gostisbehere continues to battle a knee injury.
Frost and Friedman, as well as a handful of other Lehigh Valley Phantoms could prove to be vital to the Philadelphia Flyers in the coming months. Whether it be from strong play in Lehigh Valley, injury or other struggles within the Flyers roster, or a combination of any of these, some Phantoms could play an important role for the Philadelphia Flyers moving forward.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre
Contributor for the Flyers division at Philly Sports Network, graduate of York College of Pennsylvania and a fan of all things hockey. Follow me on Twitter @ChadWalkerPSN