The Flyers selection of Joel Farabee in the 2018 NHL draft looks more and more like another genius pick by former GM Ron Hextall, who the rival Pittsburgh Penguins have since hired. Farabee drafted 14th overall in 2018, had a season that was considered average by most. He tallied eight goals in 52 games. He was in and out of the lineup in 2020 and struggled most of the season. Farabee scored three goals in 12 playoff games last year, as the Flyers lost to the New York Islanders in seven games during the second round.
We were left with some excellent moments and some moments of below-average play with many young players. I was left scratching my head entering this season. Farabee looked good inserted in different line combinations on paper, but what were we actually going to get from him? Well, 16 games into this season, and Farabee has been a shining star on most nights. He has already tied last year’s goal output with eight goals. Playing with JVR is a perfect mix, like peanut butter and jelly. I don’t particularly appreciate switching line combos a lot, but it’s a must when you are desperate to find consistent goal scoring.
It’s looking safer to say that Joel Farabee will be a mainstay in this Flyers lineup for years to come. His skills have come to life not only by putting the puck in the net, but also by dishing the puck as well. In 16 games this season Farabee has 15 points (8G-7A), 39 shots on net, with a shooting percentage of close to 21%. He’s also a +4. These are solid numbers for a now young 21-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on February 25th.
I have a pet peeve when it comes to debating players. It is goal-scoring. I need to see a player put the puck in the net. You can give me the old excuse, well player “X” does so much more. Yeah, well, when it comes playoff time I need a player to step up and score. Another peeve is shots. Yes, this is important. Seeing a player go a few games with little to no shots on the net drives me bananas. If a player struggles to get on the score sheet, they have to put the puck on the net. Like the ” Great One” Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% on the shots you never take.” Finally, I care about plus/minus. It is always a key stat to determine how a player is on the ice in all three key areas – offensive zone, neutral zone, and defensive zone. Farabee is obviously succeeding in all three of these areas at the moment.
Joel Farabee has arrived, and it is a pleasure to see. He is on his rookie contract at a bargain, making $925k a season. Look for his next contract to be a lucrative one in the coming years, with aging forwards likely to move on from the Flyers or take a heavy discount to stay. There is no doubt in my mind that Farabee can become a top-three goal producer on the Flyers for years to come. With still plenty to learn, Farabee and the Flyers fans must maintain patience. There will be moments of potential greatness and some slumps that will frustrate us. The bottom line is we have a good one in Joel Farabee, and with more games under his belt, I can see him making his first All-Star game by next year. Hopefully, he brings this solid, consistent start into the playoffs, where we have struggled with goal production in big-time games.
Happy 21st Birthday Farabee. Yes, I’m available for a beer if you want.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire