The Philadelphia Flyers have entered a new era, one without Claude Giroux. We don’t know if he will be back or if he is going to sign with a new team after the season to try and chase Stanley Cups. One thing we do know is that this team has a number of promising young players that the Flyers can build the future around.
Giroux spoke before he was traded about Joel Farabee, one of the promising young Flyers, and endorsed him by saying “this guy will break all of my records.” That is a tall order but also gives some hope for the coming years in Philadelphia. Indeed, Farabee is a great young player and has broken into the NHL earlier than many may have expected and made an impact.
With the right pieces around him and the continued growth we’ve seen, Farabee could realistically break Giroux’s records if he sticks around long enough.
Early Career Comparisons
Both Farabee and Giroux had much different paths to the NHL, but that can be expected of an American and a Canadian.
Farabee went the route of the U.S. National Development Program where he spent three seasons from 2016-18. In his time there he played 56 games and scored 63 points, popping off in his final season with 40 points. As part of the 2017-18 season, his team played in 36 games in the Exhibition League that only ran for two total seasons. Farabee recorded 18 goals and 36 points in 36 games.
After his time in the program he decided to attend Boston University, but for only one year. After scoring 17 goals and 36 points in 37 games he immediately decided to turn pro the following season and join the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Flyers, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. That lasted five games until he was called up after scoring three goals and four points. Farabee has never looked back since.
Unfortunately, his first two seasons in the NHL were shortened by COVID. He only got into 52 games in 2019-20 and 55 games in 2020-21. He has always been a goal-scorer despite the lack of shot volume. The past two seasons his shooting percentage has been over 16, so he’s prioritizing high-quality shots over firing the puck any chance he gets. He took a big step forward in his second season despite it being shortened.
Giroux stayed in Canada after he was drafted and played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for two years before finally turning pro full-time. He racked up 321 points in 187 games in junior before starting the 2008-09 season in the AHL. Before that though, he had played five games in the 2006-07 season for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL to end the season. The following year, he played two NHL games and the rest was spent in the QMJHL.
The 2008-09 season was almost split evenly between the AHL and NHL as Giroux put up 17 goals and 34 points in 33 games to start and finished the year on the Flyers recording 27 points in 42 games. That’s when his career really took off.
By his third season, Giroux scored 25 goals and put up 76 points. The fourth season is when he became a point per game player for the next three seasons and two since then. There is a way to go before Farabee sniffs any records held by Giroux, but time will tell if the Flyers can build around this young stud and put him in a position to succeed.
Giroux’s Records for Farabee to Aim For
In his quote, Giroux was obviously talking about what he has done with the Flyers’ organization and how high he is in every category after playing exactly 1000 games for the franchise. He is the only player in NHL history to play exactly 1000 games for one franchise.
To begin with, Giroux is near the top of many of the offensive leaderboards for the Flyers. It will take Farabee a long career with the organization to catch up. He is off to a good start, but he will have to develop into at least a point-per-game player, though a consistent 30-plus goal-scorer is more likely.
Giroux has always been dominant on the power play, an area where he holds multiple records for the Flyers. He has the most power-play points (339) and power-play assists (255) in franchise history. He is eighth all-time on the Flyers with 84 power-play goals. Farabee will have to be a lock on the first power-play unit for his career if he wants to match those numbers. Thus far in his career he has five power-play goals (PPG) and 12 power-play points (PPP) compared to Giroux who had 18 PPG and 46 PPP. Take into account that Giroux had two full 82-game seasons in his first three years with the Flyers compared to shortened seasons for Farabee and injury issues.
As for games played, of course it is possible to reach Giroux’s 1000 games, Farabee just has to decide to stick around, stay healthy, and be effective for a long career. The points will be a little tougher, as Giroux has 900 with the Flyers. Farabee has 810 to go, but the season isn’t over. His role has also increased with the departure of Giroux.
Let’s jump to single-season records. Giroux’s best season all-around season came in 2017-18 when he set his career high in goals (34), assists (68), and points (102). It was the one time in his career he hit the century mark. Farabee scored 20 goals in his second season in the NHL in just 55 games. His ice time has since increased, as has his role and skill. This has been an abysmal season for the Flyers, so once they are back to full health and there is some consistency, expect Farabee to top 34 goals within a couple of seasons. I don’t believe he will reach Giroux’s 68 assists or 102 points, but the way the league is going, you never know.
For many years, Giroux was one of the very best on the power play, and so was the top unit around him. He topped 20 power-play points in 11 consecutive seasons and had 20-plus power-play assists seven times. Giroux also had 14 power-play goals in one season. That is reachable if Farabee is put in a position to score on the top unit. James van Riemsdyk has just one season remaining on his contract, then after that another spot on the top power-play unit opens up for the taking.
Farabee’s Future Projections
Like Giroux had with Jakub Voracek for a lot of his career, Farabee is going to need a setup man. I don’t believe that is Sean Couturier, but I envision Morgan Frost playing the role if he can stay healthy and find his game in the NHL.
I wouldn’t say time is running out for Frost since he’s dealt with major injuries, but it has definitely set him back from being where he may have been if he got the proper development straight through. Farabee and Frost are separated by just one year. Frost was a great playmaker in junior when he played for the Soo Greyhounds. In his final two seasons in junior he recorded 70-plus assists in both.
Farabee can’t be expected to turn into a superstar by himself. Giroux had help, and Farabee will have to have the same young talent around him. He will have to excel on the power play during his career, and with his shooting ability I can see him being a threat there for years to come.
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Unlike Giroux, Farabee won’t be a captain anytime soon, that will most likely be given to Couturier. It doesn’t mean he can’t develop into a leader and one day try and be the type of player Giroux was for the Flyers for so many years. The confidence in Farabee is high as it should be. He is one of the core pieces that should be untouchable as the Flyers look to become the force they once were.