Joel Farabee is fun to watch and there's a discernible pro readiness to his game — hence, why the 19-year-old is turning pro in 2019-20 after one year at Boston University.
Along the wing, Farabee is loaded with skill, speed and smarts. He's a prolific goal-scorer who plays hard and in a lot of situations. These are reasons why Farabee is considered by many to be the Flyers' top prospect and will push for a roster spot during the fall (see story).
"In terms of hockey sense, skill, skating, passion to play the game — he has all of those elements already," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in June. "It's just going to be a question of time and really maturity."
Before the fall comes, Farabee is putting his strengths on display in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase. Through two games with the U.S., Farabee has a pair of goals, an assist and a plus-3 rating.
On one of his goals in USA Blue's 7-1 win over Sweden last weekend, Farabee made his ability abundantly clear (as you can see in the video above).
His other marker was just as impressive. Farabee is a strategic and accurate goal-scorer. Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall raved about Farabee's deception last summer. You can see some of it here with his hands.
So what does Farabee need to do in order to crack the Flyers' roster and win a third-line job? Prove he's ready to play in all zones, against NHL size, on a nightly basis.
"Probably the down-low game," he said at development camp. "It's pretty grindy in the [AHL] and the NHL, so you've got to be able to withstand an 82-game season, plus. I think that's the biggest thing right now."
The Flyers clearly want to see Farabee's thinner build not be a major factor or hindrance. There's a chance it may not matter if he's doing everything else well — which he often does.
"You watch a Joel Farabee, you watch the way he thinks the game, especially the small area hockey games out there — he's a guy that I can imagine you put him with NHL players, he can play," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in June. "Whether he's physically ready or mentally ready to handle the grind of an NHL season, I'm not sure. I'm not sure that's realistic."
In late June, Farabee said he was 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, and by the end of his career, would like to be in the 185-190 range.
If he has a slight frame, that could be a knock on him but he's hockey strong. That's kind of a force that is a little bit misunderstood sometimes by people outside the game. You can have a slight frame, and as long as you've got that unbelievable balance and skating ability on your edges, it doesn't affect you to be light.
- U.S. national team development program coach John Wroblewski (see story)
Farabee will be worth watching in training camp. As you can see, he's also worth watching right now in the summer showcase, along with Flyers prospects Bobby Brink (USA), Cam York (USA) and Adam Ginning (Sweden). USA plays today at 4 p.m. against Canada on HockeyTV. The remainder of the showcase can be watched on NHL Network
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