Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Morgan Frost, Ivan Provorov, and Matt Niskanen will make their preseason debuts for the Flyers Thursday night when they host the Boston Bruins in an exhibition game.
Joel Farabee and Frost will play on the first and second lines, respectively, and will have a chance to impress the Flyers’ brass. The rookies are trying to earn roster spots.
Couturier will center Giroux and Farabee. Giroux praised Farabee’s work in camp.
“He’s looking good and it’s fun to play with him,” he said after Thursday’s morning skate in Voorhees. “He’s obviously a really young player, but you can see his hockey IQ is really high and he makes the right decision most of the time on the ice. I’m excited to play with him in a game.”
Frost will center the second line, which will have James van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek as his wingers.
“Those kids are getting a good opportunity,” coach Alain Vigneault said about Farabee and Frost playing on top lines Thursday. “... You want to put players in a situation where they’re going to have success. It does not mean that Frost may come back at some point and be on the fourth line, but right now, there’s some spots that are available.”
Center Nolan Patrick is still week to week, and Vigneault said he didn’t know if he would be ready for the Oct. 4 opener. The first-year Flyers coach said he is playing Frost at center in case Patrick isn’t ready. By no means did he guarantee Frost a spot, however. Frost missed the first two preseason games with a groin injury.
“I definitely wanted to play,” Frost said the the first two games, “but I wanted to be 100 percent so I can show my best and prove that I can make the team. I was a little disappointed, but there’s still a few games left.”
Frost said he was excited to be centering gifted wingers van Riemsdyk and Voracek.
“I’m going to try to get them the puck as much as I can,” he said.
Officially, Patrick is listed as week to week with an upper-body injury. Before Patrick’s injury, the Flyers had wanted to get a look at Frost at right wing because there is an opening on the third line.
The third line will have three roster hopefuls: German Rubtsov centering Andy Andreoff and Nic Aube-Kubel. Rubtsov and Aube-Kubel have impressed Vigneault in camp and could land jobs.
Connor Bunnaman will center the fourth line and have Carsen Twarynski and South Jersey’s Kyle Criscuolo as his wingers.
Provorv and Niskanen will form the top pairing. The other pairings: Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Braun, and Tyler Wotherspoon and Phil Myers.
Brian Elliott will start the game and play two periods, with Alex Lyon relieving him to start the third.