In 2020-21 season – which started and finished in our current calendar year, if you can believe it – Farabee was one of the first players in the NHL to log a goal when he drilled a beaut on Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry at 18:54 in the second period off of an excellent dish from frequent linemate Kevin Hayes.
In that game, Farabee also recorded three assists to become the NHL’s points leader, but he swiftly saw that distinction fade away after going five more games before scoring another point in a 5-3 win over Scott Wedgewood and the New Jersey Devils.
While few will quibble with Farabee’s production last season, as he ultimately led the team in goals at 20 and finished fifth in overall points behind Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Sean Couturier, his inconsistency as a shooter was certainly something to build on moving forward.
Well, consider that consistency built, at least in the short-term, as Joel Farabee has taken his hot start to the 2020-21 NHL season and done it one better; scoring a goal in each of the Philadelphia Flyers’ first three games will looking like an absolute steal on his new six-year, $30 million extension.
The Philadelphia Flyers need to ride Joel Farabee until the wheels fall off.
In theory, the deck should be stacked against Joel Farabee.
His primary linemate from the 2020-21 NHL season, Kevin Hayes, is currently on IR after undergoing preseason abdominal surgery, and he’s been tasked with playing alongside a pair of free agency additions in Derick Brassard and Cam Atkinson whom he’s only shared the ice with as a foe (duh).
And yet, for whatever reason, it’s worked. Brassard has served as a very serviceable middle-six center, and having Atkinson shot-happy stick on the opposite wing has freed up plenty of quality looks for Farabee.
Sure, Farabee remains a speedy skater with a strong slapshot, but the addition of Atkinson and his 4.3 snipes per game has allowed the 14th overall pick in the 218 NHL Draft to become increasingly engaged around the net, where he picked up his third goal in as many games for the Orange and Black.
And the best part? Once Hayes returns, one can assume Farabee and Atkinson will be the beneficiaries of even more quality looks by the team’s $50 million man… assuming the team opts to break up their most effective line centered by Brassard, of course.
Once Hayes is activated, the Flyers are going to have a tough call to make in recomposing their forward rotation, with either Brassard or Nate Bastian brawler Nate Thompson being relegated to the bench. Mind you, that isn’t a bad problem to have, as Hayes is easily one of the team’s best players, but in the interim, it would appear the Flyers have a pretty darn good consolation prize in Brassard, especially if he can continue to mesh with Farabee and Atkinson.
Will Joel Farabee finish out the 2021-22 NHL season with 82 goals? No, I can pretty confidently say he won’t, but he very well may close out the season as the Philadelphia Flyers’ top goal scorer for the second year in a row; that is, if Cam Atkinson doesn’t have anything to say about it. That, my friends, would be one heck of a consolation prize.