Could Joel Farabee become the next Philadelphia Flyers superstar? That and more as the Flyers prepare to travel to Lake Tahoe.
It is a requirement to have a short memory in sports. The Philadelphia Flyers cannot dwell on the shootout loss to the New York Rangers. Ahead of them is a date with the Boston Bruins at Lake Tahoe. Without six starters, the challenge is steep against a team the Flyers have yet to defeat.
In his postgame press conference, Alain Vigneault mapped out Philadelphia’s schedule for the weekend. Taking the change of timezone into consideration, the Flyers held their practice earlier this morning. Adjusting the mind and body in preparation for Lake Tahoe is critical for the new roster additions. Following a better than advertised performance against the Rangers, the same lineup must be better on Sunday.
Before Philadelphia boards the plane to Lake Tahoe, we tether the loose ends in the Flyers Phlight Deck.
Farabee’s Sophomore Spur
Jordan Hall acknowledged a statistic that put Joel Farabee’s development into perspective. As a rookie, Farabee had eight goals in 52 games. He finished 2019-2020 with a total of 21 points and a plus-six rating. Also, his postseason performance included an additional five points (3G, 2A) in twelve games.
Through fourteen games in 2020-2021, Farabee has seven goals. He’s averaging just under a point per game in his sophomore season, with a plus-seven rating. Many would assume that his development during his second season would propel him into a top-six forward. During the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, Farabee already made an impression on the top-two lines.
Farabee matched 50% of his total 2019-2020 production (including postseason) through fourteen games. His defensive tendencies have already improved. If he keeps his pace, Farabee could have career-highs in every statistic during a 56-game season. His rookie season will correlate closely because 2020-2021 is abbreviated. By the end of his sophomore season, do not be surprised if Farabee receives votes for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.
Matthew Strome on Taxi Squad
Matthew Strome has arrived on the Flyers taxi-squad for their showdown versus the Bruins at Lake Tahoe. Philadelphia had twelve forwards available before Strome became an addition. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms had three players under an NHL contract. Strome received the call before Pascal Laberge and Zayde Wisdom.
Last night, Ryan Strome had an assist for the New York Rangers. His other brother, Dylan Strome, is ranked seventh in scoring on the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers prospect has the NHL in his family tree.
His game will be a welcomed addition under Vigneault. Strome uses his size to battle for the puck, showing traits of a two-way left-wing. Through two games with the Phantoms, Strome has scored a goal. In the AHL or NHL, Strome could leave an impression with Vigneault, whose system accommodates his playing style.
Could Friedman Follow Morin?
Per Charlie O’Connor, Mark Friedman practiced with Samuel Morin and Andy Andreoff on the fourth-line. Conspicuous by his absence, Maksim Sushko could find himself out of plans on Sunday. That has yet to be confirmed, but Vigneault could adjust his personnel to eleven forwards and seven defensemen. If that is the case, Sushko would be the odd-man-out.
If this smoke creates a fire, Friedman could be the latest defenseman to become a forward. Before the season, Morin made the switch to left-wing. He’s started two games, his second last night versus the Rangers. Philadelphia has already exhibited a willingness to be flexible with their players, experimenting with different roles. It’s worth noting there is a high probability that Friedman travels as a seventh defenseman.
The Real Shot Discrepancy
Heading into last night’s contest versus the Rangers, the Flyers were among the worst in the NHL in generating missed shots. Whether that means the blasts attempted are high-and-wide of the goal or blocked by opposing players, Philadelphia has room to improve. Last night, the Rangers clogged 27 shots. Alexandar Georgiev saved 20/22 on the way to recording a win. The shots-on-goal battle would have been a lot closer had the Flyers been accurate.
Vigneault is an architect of a system with a thesis on high-percentage shooting. Blocking 27 shots meant the Rangers were stacking their defense in shooting lanes. Taking away shooting lanes strips Philadelphia of their offensive foundation. Some of the blame could be placed on the Flyers only practicing once with a thin roster. A heavy emphasis on creating better scoring chances and shot selections will be the focus at practice.
Hart To Start For Flyers At Lake Tahoe
Carter Hart will start at Lake Tahoe for the Flyers. With the national spotlight on Philadelphia, it is no surprise he will be the starting goaltender. Last night, Hart turned in his second-best performance of the season. He’ll need to keep his focus against Boston, who has given him fits in 2020-2021.
Through three starts versus the Bruins, Hart has allowed a minimum of four goals. Two of his three losses have come in overtime. The other loss, allowing six goals, ate Hart’s proverbial lunch. A win for the Flyers on Sunday means that the team, including Hart, finally claim a victory versus Boston this season.
Sunday will not be the first outdoor game for Hart. He has played one before during the World Juniors in Buffalo, New York, featuring Hart and Team Canada clinching a gold medal.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.