Joel Farabee

How Joel Farabee separates himself and can 'take somebody's job away' with Flyers

How Joel Farabee separates himself and can 'take somebody's job away' with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Joel Farabee is as offensively talented as any prospect in the Flyers' farm system.

The 2018 first-round pick can score in a variety of ways, whether it's making a play in open ice or deceiving a goalie in close. His all-around game of speed and skill has him nearing the Flyers at just 19 years old.

That offensive ability is what many are giddy about. It's his ticket to the NHL … right?

Well, Farabee is pretty smart. The winger knows his quickest climb to the Flyers would be snatching a bottom-six role and taking on some not-so-glamorous responsibilities.

He's aware of the Flyers' job opening and its qualifications.

"Honestly, I think by the end of my career, I'll be more of a PK guy rather than a power play guy," Farabee said Tuesday at Flyers rookie camp. "I think the game really well, so I think that helps on the PK. If I can play power play, too, that would be awesome. My strengths are when I can outthink guys, so if you can use me that way, I think that's when I play my best."

It's not all too common to hear a first-round forward gush about his PK prowess. Farabee, though, truly embraces his versatility. He battles along the boards, works hard on the forecheck and thrives on beating opponents to the puck.

With training camp set to begin Friday, the Flyers have a vacancy on their third line. They have plenty of guys that can fill the power play. Their top six is crowded. But a bottom-six role and some potential penalty kill minutes are up for grabs.

Farabee clearly knows.

"I think the game really well, so I kind of know where guys are behind me and what plays they're trying to make, so I think that helps me on my forecheck and where I can break up plays," he said. "I take a lot pride in that part my game.

"I think one of my strengths as a player is being able to play all different kinds of roles. I think I can play top six and I think I can also play bottom six. I think that really helps me out trying to get to the next level when spots are open."

Among the country's freshmen last season, the one-and-done Boston University product finished tied for second in goals with 17 — three of which were shorthanded.

AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon liked Farabee's mindset.

"If I'm a player and you go through college and junior, you can be the best power play guy — at the end of the day, you join an organization as a rookie, you have to take somebody's job away," Gordon said. "They're not going to hand it to you. You have to really show something that separates yourself from the other guys that are on the power play.

"I look at the options that the Flyers have, good on him to be able to say, 'You know what, the reality is, I might not be able to play on the power play, so how can I get my minutes?' 

"Any player that starts his career in the minors, I think — whether he's an offensive player or not — he should have the mindset to want to be a good bottom-six guy in the American League. It doesn't mean that you don't play offense, but do all the things that a bottom-six guy in the NHL does, whether it's being good defensively, maybe it's a matchup, maybe it's killing penalties, whatever it might be — to give yourself an opportunity to keep you in the lineup because of your versatility."

Like it is with any job, the more you can do, the better.

And Farabee gets that.

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Morgan Frost showing his hands, Chuck Fletcher praises Egor Zamula, more on Flyers rookie camp

Morgan Frost showing his hands, Chuck Fletcher praises Egor Zamula, more on Flyers rookie camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — The games are about to begin.

Day 4 of Flyers rookie camp wrapped up Tuesday, setting the stage for Wednesday's prospects game at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, against the Islanders.

Let's get into our latest five observations:

1. Chill in the air

Morgan Frost will be fun to watch Wednesday night and throughout the preseason.

When the 20-year-old center has time and space, he's super dangerous. But even when he's in tight and around the net, his hands are so impressive. He's brisk, instinctual and accurate, and it will be fascinating to see how quickly those strengths translate at the pro level.

In camp, he has centered two of the Flyers' other top prospects Joel Farabee and Isaac Ratcliffe. The trio's chemistry looks natural and don't be surprised to see that line in the rookie game.

"It should be awesome," Farabee said. "Playing with some really elite guys in our group here."

2. Don't ignore Egor

When general manager Chuck Fletcher was asked if any prospect has jumped out at him during camp, he mentioned Egor Zamula.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound defenseman continues to turn heads with his progress.

The one guy, to me, that just keeps getting better every day is Zamula. He's an impressive young man. He has another year of junior, so he's not a candidate to make our team this year in Philadelphia. But I saw him last year play junior, watched him play in training camp with the Flyers last year and he just continues to get better and better. He has a tremendous package of size, skill and skating, and as he matures and gets stronger, he's going to be a pretty impressive player.

- Fletcher

Zamula (who said there's no Y needed in his first name) was an excellent discovery by Flyers amateur scout Mark Greig (see story). The 19-year-old went undrafted last summer, was invited to 2018 Flyers training camp and earned an entry-level contract.

He is no longer a raw prospect as he skates smoothly, covers ground and possesses great reach. The lefty shot scored 56 points over 61 regular-season games in 2018-19 with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

"Coming in here, he looks really comfortable," AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said. "Obviously it's a nice find."

3. 'The best way to evaluate players'

A rookie game is a lot different from a preseason game.

However …

"A lot of these kids are coming in, they want to make an impression and games are the best way to evaluate players," Fletcher said.

The Flyers' GM has been pleased with the showing in camp.

"It's been great for Scott to start to work with them on some of the habits and things that we want our players in Lehigh to do this year," Fletcher said.

This is a talented rookie camp considering it features seven players with a shot at winning a season-opening roster spot on the big club.

4. On the Laberge of more?

The Phantoms will be loaded with experienced and young forwards in 2019-20.

One of those forwards to keep an eye on is Pascal Laberge.

The 2016 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his early career, but in the 15 games he did play last season with Lehigh Valley, he scored five goals.

There's some offensive potential in the 21-year-old's game. 

5. The game

Gordon, who will coach the Flyers in the rookie game, said the team will dress 19 skaters and two goalies.

The Flyers will hold a morning skate from 10-11 a.m. at Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, so we'll know more then about the lineup. 

The game is at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ (no live stream).

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An Isaac Ratcliffe-Morgan Frost-Joel Farabee line, 'effortless' Philippe Myers, more on Flyers rookie camp

An Isaac Ratcliffe-Morgan Frost-Joel Farabee line, 'effortless' Philippe Myers, more on Flyers rookie camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — A nice crowd turned out at Flyers Skate Zone on Saturday morning to watch the team's prospects open rookie camp.

There's no shortage of talent in this year's group as the camp features seven roster candidates for the 2019-20 season.

Let's get into five observations:

1. Orange you happy?

A trio in orange had everyone's attention.

With the forwards wearing different colored jerseys to make up lines, Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee were put together. To no surprise, they stood out.

Last season, the 6-foot-6 Ratcliffe scored 50 goals with the OHL's Guelph Storm, the playmaking Frost amassed 109 points with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the do-it-all Farabee won national Rookie of the Year with Boston University.

All three are turning pro this season. And if all three start the year with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms will be a hot ticket for Flyers fans. In fact, fans will get a chance to see them Wednesday night at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for the rookie game against the Islanders.

I would have to say I don't know if we've had any forwards come in that have been at the level that some of the kids that we're getting this year.

- Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon

2. The big easy

Ratcliffe is big, but his skilled hands and soft touch for a player his size are what make him impressive. He can get up ice and make plays away from the net. Around the net, though, there's a lot to like when you combine the ability with his frame.

After practice, Ratcliffe worked on deflecting shots. He scored 91 goals in 132 regular-season games over his final two years of junior hockey.

You'd have to believe he has some power play in his future, very possibly this season with the Phantoms.

3. A maturing Myers

Philippe Myers looks like a full-time NHL player. The 22-year-old defenseman moves extremely well for his 6-foot-5 size, has a great stick and he's gained a ton of strength. During the 2018 training camp, he was listed at 202 pounds. Now, he's 218 pounds and it's noticeable.

His comfort level, you can tell this is nothing for him. He just goes out there and it's effortless and he's so sure of himself and confident. I thought he looked good.

- Gordon

General manager Chuck Fletcher promoted Myers in February as the Flyers were gaining relevancy in the playoff race. Myers ended up playing 21 meaningful games.

"It made me want to work that much harder this summer," he said. "I just want to be up here this year, I want to be a part of the team, I want to help the team win. I'm going to work hard at camp and I'm going to earn it.

"They told me that I should be chomping at the bit for this training camp. I want that, too, I want to be a top-four guy, have a bigger role on the team and help the team win. They basically told me that's what my goal should be and that's my goal."

4. Different mix

A group that skated hard and showed chemistry was Mikhail Vorobyev, Maksim Sushko and Egor Serdyuk.

Vorobyev is offensively talented and trying to work his way back to the Flyers, while the Lehigh Valley-bound Sushko brings nice speed and Serdyuk was a sixth-round pick this summer.

Serdyuk was not at development camp, so this is our first live look at the Victoriaville Tigres product.


5. Friedman update

Mark Friedman will not take part in rookie camp or the prospects game as he rests up from minor abdominal surgery.

The Flyers expect him ready for main training camp, which begins Sept. 13.

Friedman is a 23-year-old defenseman who made his NHL debut during Game 82 last season. He'll be entering his third season with the Phantoms.

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