During the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round-robin game with the Boston Bruins, it looks as though a key bottom-six forward is going to miss some time. After a nasty, legs-first fall into the boards late in the third period, Michael Raffl was helped off the ice with what seemed to be an injured left leg.
Although he couldn’t provide any specifics on the type of injury or the extent of his absence, head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed with the media that Raffl won’t be in the lineup moving forward.
Whatever the injury is, it’s certainly a tough break for Raffl, who played a fantastic game against the Bruins.
Luckily, the Flyers won’t have to look long or far for Raffl’s replacement. Twenty-year-old rookie forward Joel Farabee is set to make his postseason debut in the Flyers’ round-robin tilt with the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Farabee’s Time To Shine
Since making his debut back in October of the 2019-20 season, Farabee has been nothing short of a regular in the Flyers’ nightly lineup. Seeing him scratched for the first meaningful game in months actually came as a bit of a shock, as his role in the lineup seemed cemented when the NHL season was paused.
With this new opportunity in front of him, Farabee is going to have to prove that he deserves to be a fixture in the Flyers’ postseason plan beyond the round-robin games.
Despite being a regular in the Flyers’ bottom-six, with occasional chances on the second line and second power-play unit, Farabee wasn’t exactly a regular on the scoresheet during the regular season. In 52 games, he recorded 8 goals and 13 assists for a total of 21 points, averaging just over 14 minutes of ice time per game.
As he’s likely to step right into Raffl’s fourth-line spot, he’s going to have to ramp up production and prove he’s ready for playoff hockey.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he just needs to score a ton of goals to stick around. Farabee is an excellent playmaker who sees the ice very well, especially in the offensive zone, provides a quick shot in both five-on-five and man-up chances, and plays a fairly physical game as well.
Farabee has been a welcomed and highly anticipated addition to the Flyers’ lineup this year and for the fans, you just have to hope he embraces and thrives in his postseason opportunity.
Postseason Impact of Flyers’ Youth
Come Thursday, Farabee will become the fourth Flyer making their postseason debut this year. Along with Carter Hart, Philippe Myers, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of a youth presence in the Flyers’ playoff lineup.
They may have only played one round-robin game, but the capabilities of the Flyers’ youth was on full display. Hart was lights out, shutting down the Bruins despite on goal, and even holding their top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak pointless.
Myers was another bright spot in the Flyers’ postseason opener, adding a gorgeous goal on top of a plus-3 rating and two hits in 17:51 of ice time.
The Flyers’ youth presence will continue to prove its impact with Farabee inbound for Thursday’s game, and guys like Morgan Frost, Connor Bunnaman, Carsen Twarynski, Mark Friedman, and Egor Zamula at the ready waiting for their first crack at postseason action.
Years of solid drafting have finally started to pay off for the Flyers, and it was only a matter of time before that showed in the postseason. Hopefully, Joel Farabee can pile on to the early contributions of the Flyers’ young stars in the round-robin and throughout the remainder of the playoffs.