With the 14th pick of the 2018 NHL draft, the Flyers on Friday night selected left winger Joel Farabee of the USA National Team Development Program (NTDP) at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Farabee is an 18-year-old from Cicero, New York, a northern suburb of Syracuse, headed to Boston University in the fall. He originally committed to the University of New Hampshire as a 14-year-old in December 2014 but has since de-committed to join the historic Terriers program.
The 6-foot, 161-pounder finished as the No. 12 North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings and is coming off a strong season in the NTDP. He scored 33 goals and 76 points in 62 games with the U.S. U-18 team while registering 40 points in 26 games in the USHL.
"The NDTP has been everything really as I look back," Farabee said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat. To be able to play with such elite players on a day-to-day basis and the coaching staff; they're there every day giving a 100 percent just like you are.
"If you're a U.S.-born player, it's the place to go. They really develop you into the player you need to become. They don't look at you and BS you in what you need to do."
By drafting Farabee, Ron Hextall did something he’s never done before as Flyers general manager: draft a natural winger in the first round, and it’s not for a lack of picks.
In five drafts under Hextall, the Flyers have made seven first-round selections, dating back to 2014. Four were centers; two were defensemen and his first of the 2018 draft a winger.
Since taking Ivan Provorov seventh overall in 2015, Hextall has drafted forwards with his last five first-rounders: Travis Konecny, German Rubtsov, Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost and Farabee.
Farabee is the Flyers’ first natural winger drafted in the first round since they selected James van Riemsdyk with the No. 2 overall pick in 2007.
While the history shows Hextall has been reluctant to draft wingers in the first round, what likely made Farabee an exception is his commitment to playing a 200-foot game.
Farabee is a strong two-way winger with good speed and a shoot-first mentality. He apparently is an Eagles fan or at least was during Super Bowl LII.
With their second first-round pick (19th overall), the Flyers drafted Thayer Academy center Joe O'Brien (see story).
During his pre-draft news conference, Hextall said he "would be shocked if we don't draft a couple of defensemen." In the first round, he opted for two forwards.
The Flyers have seven picks remaining in the 2018 draft, which picks back up Saturday morning.