Farabee recovery, and rebound required for Flyers in ’22-’23

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Flyers' Joel Farabee
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 13: Philadelphia Flyers Right Wing Joel Farabee (86) skates on the ice during the game between the Pittsburg Penquins and the Philadelphia Flyers on January 13, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The 2022-2023 NHL season will be the fourth of Joel Farbee’s career. Farabee, 22, was drafted 14th overall by the Flyers during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He’s made an instant impact since his making his debut in 2019.

Farabee is a popular player amongst the fans. He’s young, scores goals, and has the potential to be a high-end top-line scorer in Philadelphia. He’s certainly a reason to remain positive and hopeful during the next few years. During the 2021-2022 season, Farabee took a step backward. Injuries and regression were the storylines surrounding the 2021-2022 Flyers; with that, it was very noticeable regarding Farabee.

Farabee played in 63 games and scored 34 points (17G, 17A) during 2021-2022. He scored four fewer points than he did in 2020-2021 and three fewer goals. He averaged more ice-time (17:35) compared to the previous season (16:01). Farabee took a major step forward during 2020-2021 and it seemed obvious that he would continue to elevate his game in 2021-2022. That was not the case.

What went wrong?

Farabee started the season off strong by scoring six points (3G, 3A) during the first three games. Between October 23rd-November 23rd, Farabee only scored one point (1G.) Going a month without registering a point isn’t ideal for a young forward who has the potential to become an elite offensive player.

On December 1st during a game against the New York Rangers, Farabee fell into the boards and suffered a shoulder sprain. He was expected to be out for over a month but returned less than two weeks later. The early return backfired as Farabee injured the same shoulder again and would miss a month. He returned on February 26th against the Washington Capitals. The Flyers beat the Capitals 2-1 and Farabee recorded an assist.

The return of Farabee was positive, but his goal-scoring touch was absent from his game.

Giroux praises Farabee

Farabee didn’t score his next goal until March 17th against the Nashville Predators, which was Claude Giroux’s 1,000th and final game as a Philadelphia Flyer. The former captain spoke highly of Farabee after the game, saying he will become the one who breaks his Philadelphia records. Giroux knows of the talent that is within Farabee, as he’s watched him develop since his rookie year.

“In the meal room yesterday, talking to G, Joel Farabee was there,” said Mike Yeo before Giroux’s 1,000th game. “In classic G style, he basically said, ‘this guy is going to break all my records.’”

Farabee, the center?

After Giroux was traded, Yeo decided to experiment with Farabee playing as a center. Farabee played well during the first four games of the experiment by scoring three goals. He then started to struggle. He wasn’t scoring points as the change in position seemed to be overwhelming and awkward at times. Farabee seems more comfortable on the left wing.

2022-2023 and more!

Farabee underwent disc replacement surgery in his cervical region in June. The recovery timeline for the operation is between 3-4 months, which means he will not be ready for training camp and potentially the start of the Flyers’ season on October 13.

The absence of Farabee in the lineup weakens the Flyers, but it will be important for him to be completely healthy upon returning and not risk an early arrival like he did last season. Farabee is a critical part of the current offense and the future one.

Farabee is in a long-term deal through 2027-2028, turning 23 years old next season. It’s time for Farabee to harness the ability Giroux spoke highly of, but with more consistency. John Tortorella will test Farabee when he returns from injury, pushing his limits.

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

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