With Sean Couturier's injury, Flyers prospect Morgan Frost should get shot at his natural position

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Jordan Hall
·3 min read
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With Couturier's injury, top prospect should get an early shot at where he's best originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With any young prospect, the Flyers want them developing by playing. The more games, the bigger the role, the better.

But because of the February start to the AHL season and the big club's depth down the middle, the Flyers were ready to adjust with Morgan Frost. They had the talented 21-year-old center take some reps at left winger during training camp. They were evaluating Frost to be their 13th forward to open the 2020-21 regular season. If Frost was to have his number called, there was a chance he would be needed along the wing. Versatility with your reinforcements is always a plus.

Turns out, only two games into the 56-game regular season, the Flyers already need help at Frost's natural position.

Sean Couturier underwent an MRI Saturday and was diagnosed with a costochondral separation after suffering the injury in the Flyers' 5-2 win Friday night over the Penguins. Couturier exited the game around 1:38 into the action and did not return. When a guy like Couturier doesn't return to the game, that's not a particularly promising sign regarding the severity of the injury.

"When your No. 1 center goes down, he won a Selke last year, he’s been one of the best centermen in the league, it’s always tough to overcome it," Jakub Voracek said Friday. "He kind of brings that poise to the game and to his line, he's real smart with the puck and he holds the puck really well. That was one of the reasons why the game was so sloppy because we were missing Coots, so hopefully it won’t be long term. It was an unfortunate loss and hopefully he’s going to be better."

With Couturier forced to miss time, Frost is likely the next man up to get the first crack at the job opening. The Flyers will likely move Kevin Hayes to first-line center and have either Nolan Patrick or Frost play second-line center. The Flyers do not view Frost as a fourth-line player, so he would play in either the No. 2 or 3 center spot. The Flyers have scored 11 goals through two games and Frost can keep them humming offensively. The Flyers will also look for him to provide more 200-foot qualities, which he worked on over the offseason and in camp.

The 2017 first-round pick is a lightning strike scorer with his high-level skill and playmaking ability. Frost made a bang when he was called up to the Flyers in November 2019 for his NHL debut, scoring two goals (his first being a filthy one) and three points over his opening two games before plateauing offensively in lesser minutes.

"He's a talented young player," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday. "He played well last year when given the opportunity in the NHL and he finished strong down in the American Hockey League, so I think he has a body of work that the coaching staff trusts. He had a good camp, he worked hard, he's worked hard to address some of the areas of his game that the coaches have asked him to work on. He earned the right to make the team."

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