VOORHEES, N.J. — If Morgan Frost had trouble sleeping last night, it would be completely understandable.
On Wednesday, when he saw his name written next to James van Riemsdyk's, his eyes widened.
"It was pretty cool," he said Thursday.
And for a few reasons.
Not only is this his best chance to showcase himself as he pushes for the Flyers' roster, but he's also playing alongside a guy he watched as a kid.
Growing up in the Toronto area, Frost was a Maple Leafs fan. From 2012-18, van Riemsdyk played for Toronto and delivered a pair of 30-goal seasons. On Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the 20-year-old Frost will center van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek in the Flyers' third preseason game.
Pretty cool, huh?
"I was watching the Leafs a lot, so I've watched a lot of him and kind of know what he's about," Frost said of van Riemsdyk. "I like to be a playmaker and he can obviously score goals, so if I can set him up, I think there's a good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net."
Frost is just as excited for the opportunity. He played one preseason game last year before being sent back to his junior club and missed the Flyers' first two exhibition games this week because of a groin injury. If anyone knows that preseason games are precious, it's Frost.
Here, he gets a golden chance to make an impression on the Flyers' front office and coaching staff. Over the past six seasons, Voracek owns the NHL's seventh-most assists, while van Riemsdyk has scored the league's 19th-most goals.
I was talking to James van Riemsdyk and I said that Morgan Frost is a player that likes to pass, while he's a guy that can finish.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) September 19, 2019
"That sounds great to me, let's go, let's get out there."
"You want to put players in a situation where they can have success," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "That's what we're trying to do right now. It does not mean that Frost might not come back at some point and be on a fourth line, but right now, there are some spots that are available."
Leading up to camp, it appeared Frost's best shot at the Flyers was along the wing given the team had a bottom-six opening at the position. With Nolan Patrick's injury, Frost's window of opportunity has opened much more. Vigneault said the Flyers, right now, want to watch Frost at center and see what he can do between high-end talent.
"The battle for the bottom six is, in my mind, fully on," Vigneault said. "It's good. We've got some decisions to make in those positions."
Frost put up 221 points (79 goals, 142 assists) and a plus-103 rating in 125 regular-season games over his final two junior seasons with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
"You hear all the scouting reports on him," van Riemsdyk said. "Highly, highly skilled, very productive player, good instincts, smart player."
While Frost watched van Riemsdyk as a fan, Maple Leafs connections helped JVR learn a little bit about the prospect.
"The first time I remember hearing about him was in training camp last year," van Riemsdyk said. "Talking to some of my former teammates in Toronto who had played against him and I heard the same things — super, super skilled, really smart player."
Since being drafted 27th overall by the Flyers in 2017, Frost hasn't had an audition like this one. Just how quickly can he show the Flyers he's ready for the part?
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