Fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins have fallen in love with one of the young players within the system and his name is Bobby Farnham. Well, his name is actually Robert T. Farnham and he’s the proud owner of a one-year, two-way contract with the Penguins.
The Penguins have resigned Bobby Farnham. You may all rejoice.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) July 13, 2015
The 26-year old was never drafted, he isn’t a talented goal scorer and he’s not the biggest player on the ice. So what does Farnham do so well that the Penguins would keep him around? He takes penalties but he also knows how to draw a lot of penalties. Of all players who played 10 or more NHL contests last season, no one was able to draw more penalties per minute than Farnham. Of every 60 minutes played, he drew 4.6 penalties.
His contract is a one-year, two-way deal that pays him the NHL minimum salary of $575,000 when with the Penguins. Despite playing just 11 games last season, Farnham has developed a “cult-like” following in Pittsburgh for his rambunctious behavior, gritty play and willingness to sacrifice himself for the team.
Hockey fans look at Bobby Farnham and see how the game used to be played and what they envision it should be in their heads. He plays with a fire inside of him, he hits and he fights. Sure, Farnham isn’t going to score many goals, as he’s scored a total of 17 in 197 AHL games played, but he brings energy to the lineup. In those same 197 AHL games, he also accumulated 672 penalty minutes.
Bobby Farnham’s Role with the Penguins in 2015-16
Those who expect to see Farnham in the Penguins lineup every night will be sadly disappointed. Many loved him in the short time that he was in Pittsburgh, but just look at Steve Downie last season. Sure his 28 points were a welcomed addition to the bottom-six, but by the end of the season his 238 penalty minutes were extremely frustrating. Now just consider how Farnham plays, he is a younger, slightly smaller version of Downie, but without the scoring ability.
Yes, the Penguins did re-sign Farnham to a contract, but most of the 2015-16 season he will be down with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He’s not a full-time NHL player, despite what some want to believe. Farnham won’t be a regular with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he will see some icetime with them.
The reality of the situation is that he will be used in a role very similar to the 2014-15 season. Expect to see Farnham suit up for about 10 games in Pittsburgh and expect him to do what he does best: agitate, inspire and leave his heart out on the ice.
What might be the most overlooked thing about Farnham is that despite his downright crazy style of play, he’s an incredibly smart young man. He attended Brown University for his undergraduate studies and is actually quite intelligent. When asked about his experience in the minor leagues Farnham had this to say.
When I tell people I went to Brown, especially down in the minors, they’re surprised. I’ll tell people in Wilkes-Barre and they’re like ‘What the hell are you doing here?’
The point is that Farnham wants to be playing hockey because he wants to and not because he needs to. He isn’t a fringe professional hockey player because he has to, but because he wants to. At this point in his life he’s realized that he won’t make a name for himself in the hockey world by being a prolific scorer, but by doing the things no one else wants to do and Pittsburgh needs that.
Bobby Farnham is mic'd in the penalty box. You'll probably want to see this.https://t.co/aoTBPySjdx
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 5, 2015
Farnham brings the right amount of crazy to reinvigorate the Penguins when they need it the most and we’ll see a little of that again during the 2015-16 season.
Michael Pityk is an analyst who has written for numerous sites since beginning his professional career. He’s acted as a credentialed member of the media for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Sports Journal, MSN, PensLabyrinth, Montreal Hockey Talk, ESPN Pittsburgh, The Hockey Writers, Todays SlapShot and The Bleacher Report. He formerly was the editor of Pens Labyrinth and an analyst for The Sports Journal. Michael presently acts as an NHL Analyst for The Hockey Writers