Morgan Frost centered Isaac Ratcliffe and Joel Farabee as the Flyers started their rookie camp Saturday morning.
That’s a lot of firepower, a lot of promise.
In the Ontario Hockey League last season, the 6-foot-6, 208-pound Ratcliffe had 50 goals. Frost had 109 points in the same league, while Farabee starred at Boston University and was named the best first-year player in NCAA Division I hockey.
Phantoms coach Scott Gordon, who ran Saturday’s camp in Voorhees, was asked if he ever daydreamed about the day when that line was together for the Flyers.
“Sometimes I say this is going to be a pretty good line for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms,” Gordon cracked.
There is a chance all three start the season with Gordon’s Phantoms. All three, however, are among the candidates for the Flyers’ third-line right-wing spot.
Gordon said Frost (6-foot, 188 pounds) played with much more pace than at this time last year, and that Farabee (6-foot, 180) displayed a solid 200-foot game Saturday. As for Ratcliffe, “the one thing to me that stood out was his strength,” Gordon said. “There’s a little more meat on him and he seemed a little stronger on his feet and (better) with puck protection. The strength coaches are doing a really good job of getting these players to get stronger every year. You don’t realize when they come in at 18 years old and then see at 20 how much growth they’ve had.”
All three have gained weight and muscle in the offseason, and it doesn’t seem to have slowed them down.
“I don’t know that we’ve had any forwards come in that are at the level of some of the kids this year,” Gordon said of the rookies.
He didn’t name names, but it was clear he was talking about Frost, Farabee, and Ratcliffe, three gifted forwards who are knocking on the NHL door. Frost and Ratcliffe are 20, and Farabee is 19
They will have a chance to win a job with the Flyers during the main camp, which starts Friday. Even if they don’t start the year with the Flyers, there’s a good chance that some of them will be in Philadelphia at some point during the season.
And there’s a decent chance that, down the road, the three players will be linemates.
“That,” Frost said, smiling, “would be pretty cool. They’re two of my best friends, for sure. We definitely have off-ice chemistry. We have to translate that to on the ice. But we’re all good friends and that makes it easier to play together.”