Development camp has always been a time that is not about evaluation. It is a place to work on weaknesses, to mold your skills and to get insight from coaches who can help you take the step to the next level.
There are three top forward prospects that are showcasing skills at development camp with their sights set on training camp in September, with a chance to make the Flyers roster.
This is the third development camp for Morgan Frost, who for the last two seasons has been a force in the OHL. He followed up a season where he had 42 goals and 112 points in 67 games with 37 goals and 102 points in 58 games.
Frost has also increased his weight from 170 pounds to 187 pounds. His goal is to be at 190 by training camp, which hopefully will help him handle professional players.
Regardless of what happens at training camp, this will be Frost’s first professional season. The 20-year-old will at least have a spot on the Phantoms.
“I think every year you learn the game more, the little things and get a little stronger,” Frost said on Tuesday. “You just to start to understand the game more. I think just little things that I can work on. I can start adding those to my game.”
Isaac Ratcliffe has risen through the ranks, especially over the last season. As captain of the Guelph Storm last season, Ratcliffe scored 50 goals and had 82 points in 65 games, and added 15 goals and 15 assists in the OHL Playoffs on the way to a Memorial Cup berth.
Ratcliffe was selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, described as a player with first-round talent that had slipped. His skating ability was the biggest issue. Over the years, he has molded into a top prospect in the organization and could be in play to reach the NHL as soon as this year if he really impresses.
Joel Farabee has quickly entered the discussion as well. He was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft and had a stellar freshman season at Boston University, scoring 17 goals and 36 points in 37 games, tremendous numbers for a first-year player.
Farabee decided to forgo the remaining years of college to sign an entry-level deal and turn pro following his freshman season, which now puts him on the radar for the NHL. At 19, he’s certainly a longshot to make the team, but his skill on the wing may be too good to ignore.
“There is a wing spot open right now so obviously that’s my goal to make the team,” Farabee said on Tuesday. “Pretty realistic, so if I’m up and down or don’t make it this year I wouldn’t be surprised. I just have to prepare to either play in Philly or Lehigh, so that’s where I’m at right now.”
Farabee noted what many already know, especially the prospects looking for a chance. The Flyers have $15.1 million in cap space remaining and still have to re-sign Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton. They also have a third-line wing spot wide open at the moment.
There may be enough money for the Flyers to add a legitimate player for the third-line wing spot via trade or free agency and still leave room for a prospect to make the roster, but it is starting to look like a realistic possibility that the spot will be up for grabs.
That would put Frost, Ratcliffe and Farabee right into the mix, which could create some added excitement when training camp rolls around.
For now, marvel at the skill set that all three players will show. They will be making things look easy at development camp, and at times they should. But when September hits, that’s when the real challenge begins as they look to prove they are ready among the other professionals already on the roster and on opposing teams in the preseason.