Flyers Prospect Watch: Realistic Expectations for Joel Farabee’s First Pro Season

NHL: NHL Draft
Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Joel Farabee poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number fourteen overall pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center.

Joel Farabee will make the Philadelphia Flyers roster out of training camp next season.

The words written above are what every Flyers fan wants to hear and rightfully so. In most of our minds, former General Manager, Ron Hextall, was a complete draft wizard. It makes perfect sense that last year’s 14th-overall selection will be NHL-ready heading into his first professional season, right?

We would all love nothing more for that to be the case, however, I recommend pumping the brakes a bit.

Currently, everyone is incredibly on Joel Farabee. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is all for a very good reason. Leading Boston University in scoring (36 points), being awarded the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, and winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships are accolades no one should scoff at. There is no question that his development is progressing at a rapid pace and he has the tools necessary to one day be a successful hockey player in the NHL.

Although Farabee packs some serious NHL potential, that does not necessarily translate into him being ready to make the Flyers straight out of training camp next season. Excitement and hype may temporarily convince us otherwise but we must recognize that excitement and hype can often lead to deception.

The truth of the matter is that Farabee would not only benefit from beginning his professional career in Lehigh Valley, it is the most likely scenario. Yes, he experienced a great deal of success in his one collegiate year. However, allowing time for him to acclimate to the pro game is crucial.

With the Phantoms, Farabee can ease himself into the system without all of the pressures the NHL holds. The smartest plan of action includes giving him more of a depth-forward role to start and making him earn a top-six or top-line spot. It is important for him to earn a top role with the team so he is better accustomed to those responsibilities before he reaches the Flyers.

Could Farabee slot into the fourth line in Philadelphia? I don’t see why not. However, what is gained in the long term by doing that. That is not the role the team wants out of him down the line. It would make more sense to take on more responsibility in the AHL then receive limited time with the Flyers.

Another thing to keep in mind is the Flyers plan on being active this offseason to acquire NHL talent that moves the needle forward now. If Chuck Fletcher adds to his roster, where would that leave Farabee in regards to the Flyers? Again, it would limit his role and playing time. At 19-years-old, that is simply something that just cannot be happening.

Now does Farabee beginning in Lehigh Valley complete negate any chance of him joining the Flyers at some point next season? Not at all! If he lights the AHL on fire, there is no reason why he cannot be called up at some point. The key is allowing him the opportunity to succeed in the minors first. Whether it takes him a full season, less, or more is something we just need to wait and see.

Joel Farabee deciding to join the Philadelphia Flyers organization is nothing but exciting. He’s going to be a valuable member of this franchise for a long time. Just remember, it is okay that he’s not quite ready to play for the Flyers just yet. Patience with prospects is key.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports