Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.
The topic: Predicting who wins the Flyers' third-line winger job.
It's Aug. 3 and a lot can change from now until the Oct. 4 season opener in Prague, Czech Republic. Training camp and preseason will dictate who wins the third-line winger job.
Last season, the Flyers had an opening at third-line center. Prospect Mikhail Vorobyev was so good during the preseason that he won the job outright. Seven games and four healthy scratches into the regular season, he was sent to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Yes, things can change drastically and quickly in the NHL.
There's a big group of players vying to fill the Flyers' third-line vacancy. The competition should feature Vorobyev, Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andy Andreoff, Kurtis Gabriel and Chris Stewart.
The 21-year-old Rubtsov is a sleeper because of his NHL size, positional versatility and defensive principles that all play well in a bottom-six role.
"Our coaches, they like a lot of things that he brings," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in June.
Right now, though, my gut tells me Farabee will earn the gig, despite the 19-year-old having no pro experience and coming off just one year of college hockey. The 2018 first-round pick fits what the Flyers should want out of a third-line winger. He's smart, he's situational, he's skilled, he's quick, he scores and he's stronger than what some may think about the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder.
If there are bumps along the road, the Flyers have insurance plans.
But the new regime wants this team to allow fewer goals, be tougher to play against and have improved scoring depth. Farabee's strengths can help in those areas. Plenty of hockey people have said that, too.
Since Flyers development camp wrapped in late June, there’s been one player who has stood out among the rest and should be listed on the roster for the season opener in the Czech Republic.
He left his college career behind with just one season at Boston University under his belt by signing his entry-level contract in March. During his freshman season, he played 37 games and ended with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists).
When watching him in drills alongside the many other prospects in the system, Farabee looked like he was on a different wavelength — a man among boys when it came to his overall game.
If the only concern is his weight heading into training camp come September, it shouldn’t restrict him from getting a serious look for the open slot. Since this is the position he most often plays and is most comfortable with, he may have an easier time transitioning to pro than other current prospects that may get a look, as well.
As the offseason continues, the buzz around Farabee has been everywhere, especially with his performance in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase (see story).
A possible third line could consist of players all 23 years old or younger (Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Farabee). Now, while that is a young line, the budding chemistry of Lindblom and Patrick in addition to Farabee’s skill set could make up one of the more solid bottom-six lines around the league.
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