When they stood next to each other at Flyers development camp last month, Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe represented the long and short of Ron Hextall’s grand plan.
A smallish, shifty playmaker and a towering 6-foot-6 winger who is just starting to add the beef that could make him a beast along the boards and around the net, Frost and Ratcliffe officially became Flyers employees Thursday, signing entry-level contracts.
Terms were not disclosed. However, NHL entry-level contracts are two-way contracts that allow for a maximum salary of $925,000 if the player starts and finishes the season playing for the NHL team. For Ratcliffe and Frost, who are both 18, the length of that contract is three years. Should Frost and Ratcliffe not appear in a Flyers uniform or in at least 10 games this season (as expected), the length of that contract would slide forward by a year.
Frost, the late first-round pick (27th overall) acquired from St. Louis in a deal that sent 25-goal scorer Brayden Schenn to the Blues, is a 5-10 forward who idolizes Steph Curry and favors setting the table for others over scoring himself. Playing last season for Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League, Frost had 20 goals and 42 assists in 67 games.
“I think I’m definitely a playmaker first,’’ he said last month at camp. “I think you’re always going to see me with more assists than goals. For me, playing with a goal scorer is probably the best thing for me because I’m a guy who loves to distribute. But at the same time I can score if I’m in the spot.’’
Ratcliffe’s goal is to be the spot. At 203 pounds, his immediate goal is to add girth and core strength to his 81-inch wingspan — the longest measured at this year’s NHL scouting combine. “Looking down the roster, I know I would be the biggest guy out there if I got to put on the uniform,’’ Ratcliffe said during development camp, inadvertently explaining why Hextall was willing to use three draft picks to trade up and nab him at 35th overall. “They don’t really have one of those guys. And obviously being in the position to add that to their future is definitely a positive for me. I think I can really bring something to the table for this hockey club.’’
Frost ranked fourth on his team in overall scoring and helped the Greyhounds to a 48-16-3-1 first-place finish in the OHL’s West Division. He added eight points in 11 playoff games. Ratcliffe scored 28 goals and had 54 points playing for the last-place Guelph Storm in the OHL this season.