The Philadelphia Flyers have had an overall stellar offensive attack so far throughout the 2020-21 season. In the 27 games they have played, they are ranked 14th in the entire NHL in scoring with 88 goals. A few of the top players in the lineup providing solid contributions to that total include James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, and captain Claude Giroux. Also among that list as well is second-year talent, Joel Farabee. The 21-year-old has shown growth from what was a good rookie campaign, and his potential only looks better as he continues heading toward his prime in a few years.
Farabee started out in 2019-20 in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He was coming off a year in the Boston University program, a school known for NHL stars such as the Buffalo Sabres’ Jack Eichel and Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins. Philadelphia had a stacked lineup, and Joel was an odd man out looking in at that point in time. He was originally up with Philly when the team was overseas playing in Prague but did not play opening night. He was then sent down to play for Lehigh Valley.
The Phantoms were Joel’s real first taste of hockey within an NHL system. It did not take long for him to get called up for his NHL debut though, as he only suited up for Lehigh Valley in five games (he posted three goals and an assist in that span). Farabee was recalled and played his first game on Oct. 21, 2019, against the Vegas Golden Knights. He later scored his first NHL goal versus the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 1, 2019. It was a crucial tally as it tied the contest 3-3. The Flyers later won the game in a shootout thanks to Sean Couturier and goalie Carter Hart.
Overall in his rookie season, Farabee tallied eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 52 games. On top of that, he produced three goals and two assists for five points in 12 postseason games. Now, in 2020-21, he has 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 26 games. Joel started out of the gate with a strong January and then built on that with an impressive February as well. He was considered one of the best players on the Flyers for the month of February.
Farabee already beat his rookie totals in both goals and overall points, and he is only a couple more assists away from setting his new career-high in that category as well. Of course, it is unknown how his totals would have shaken out the rest of his rookie year if the COVID-19 pandemic did not take place, but the signs of improvement are there regardless from year one to year two.
A Future Core Member
Looking at the Flyers’ top offensive talents right now, Farabee is the youngest out of all of them, which is one of the most exciting aspects when talking about his future. He is only going to continually get better the more seasons and playoff games are under his belt. Who knows how many points he can rack up in a few seasons. With the current regular season top scorers, van Riemsdyk leads the team in points right now with 29 (13 goals and 16 assists) and is 31 years old. Giroux is third in scoring with 21 points (six goals and 15 assists) and is 33 years old, while Voracek has 21 himself (four goals and 17 assists) at age 31. Joel is second on the team in scoring only behind van Riemsdyk with the 24 points previously mentioned at age 21.
Farabee is showing this season the immediate transition of his game to the NHL level. Sure, he has a lot of talent around him that is helping his point-producing, but he has a strong skillset on his own as well. He is establishing himself as a face of the offense, and to take the reins as he has to be a key contributor already at his age speaks volumes of the quick progress he can make.
Overall, the way things look right now, Philadelphia hit on another draft pick of theirs that further improved the youth movement that has been growing on this team. Farabee is just one example of a talented player joining the Flyer Orange and Black thanks to management. Travis Konecny (age 24) and Ivan Provorov (age 24) were homerun selections by then-Flyers general manager Ron Hextall in the 2015 NHL Draft. The defense in general between Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Philippe Myers among others is very young and upcoming. Myers specifically is suiting up in his third season for the club, having played in 21 games in the 2018-19 campaign as well as in 50 contests for 2019-20. These are all talents that will potentially make up the Flyers’ core going forward.
Konecny is going to be a face of the Flyers forward group for many years to come, but Farabee will be right there with him and so will fellow forward Oskar Lindblom. These three among others will potentially lead and help grow younger talent when they are older just the way veterans like Giroux and van Riemsdyk did for them. Farabee is just getting started as an offensive threat. Last year was his time to get his first experience playing NHL hockey, and now this season he begins breaking out into a star talent. The future looks bright for both him and the Flyers as a team.
I have been a hockey fan for most of my life, and have played the game myself for more than six years. I graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in 2018, with a bachelor’s in Broadcasting & Mass Communication. Previous positions held include being a Sports Analyst for Oswego’s student-run TV station, WTOP-10; News/Sports Intern for WIVB-TV Channel 4; and Sports Beat Writer Intern for Pro Player Insiders.