Joel Farabee brings much-needed scoring ability as Flyers move closer to optimal lineup

We’re getting there.

On Sunday evening the Philadelphia Flyers called up Joel Farabee and Mikhail Vorobyev from the AHL and loaned Carsen Twarynski to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Farabee’s transition to the professional level has been smooth, with a beautiful goal in his AHL debut plus two more goals and an assist, totaling four points in four games with the Phantoms. The Flyers are hoping his transition to the NHL level will follow that same path.

He made his pro debut in style with this beauty.

https://twitter.com/LVPhantoms/status/1182816486672478208

In his second game he showed off his shooting accuracy off the rush.

https://twitter.com/LVPhantoms/status/1183166085044015106

His third goal was a power-play marker from the low slot. He jammed it home for the Phantoms.

And here’s his assist in Saturday’s game. It came on Morgan Frost’s first pro goal.

That’s Farabee starting it off with a nice drive down the boards before throwing the puck on net.

It’s a well-deserved promotion for Farabee, who was the last player cut from the roster after the preseason. Farabee traveled with the team to Europe and played in the preseason game in Switzerland before missing the final cut. Now it’s go time for Farabee.

The Flyers started out the year with back-to-back wins that got the season going in the right direction. A 4-0 win in the home opener against the New Jersey Devils really revved things up, but it’s been all downhill since then for the Orange and Black. They salvaged just a point on their three-game road trip and couldn’t beat a Dallas Stars team that had just one win in eight tries going into Saturday’s game.

The Orange and Black had been getting plenty of shots and chances over the past two games (91-38 shots on goal, 149-76 shot attempts, 65-36 scoring chances, 30-11 high-danger chances), but were outscored 10-4 in two losses. They couldn’t find the back of the net at all.

Something had to give — and it did.

Twarynski won the third-line right-winger job out of training camp, and Connor Bunnaman made the team as well, due to his ability to play center. Now, both Twarynski and Bunnaman are back in the AHL, with Farabee and Voroybev being called up to replace them.

These moves, Farabee in particular, put the Flyers one step closer to their “optimal” lineup on paper, at least in terms of the forwards. Farabee is the headliner, as he should be, but Vorobyev will help as well.

Vorobyev has NHL experience and should be able to hold his own as a bottom-six center, especially on the fourth line. He struggled last year in the NHL, but had four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-two rating in five games with the Phantoms this season. Slotting in Vorobyev as the fourth-line center allows Michael Raffl to shift back to his more natural position of left wing.

So, the Flyers go from having a fourth line consisting of an overmatched center (whether it be Raffl or Bunnaman), an enforcer-type in Stewart and a solid fourth-liner in Pitlick, to a jack-of-all-trade winger (Raffl), a solid young center (Vorobyev) and Pitlick still holding down the right wing.

Moving one line up, the Flyers’ third line will be improved immensely as well. It will still be centered by Scott Laughton, who is a decent option, and James van Riemsdyk most likely on the left side, but the third member of the line will be a top prospect with a knack for the net in Farabee.

Laughton is a good two-way center that will get in the dirty areas and make the little plays to push play in the right direction. That will let his wingers make plays and put pucks on net. JVR can use his size and strength, allowing Farabee to use his skill and finesse in the open ice.

That’s pretty much all you can ask for out of a bottom-six. The Flyers now have a reliable fourth line and a third line with some pop — and room for improvement.

Nolan Patrick has been skating recently, and is progressing toward a return. He may need some time in the AHL on a conditioning stint, but if Patrick can return soon, it’ll make the bottom six that much better.

A third line of JVR – Patrick – Farabee is what most people hoped for heading into the season, and it would move Laughton down to bolster an already strong fourth line.

Adding a skilled player like Farabee should take some pressure off of the top-six group as well.

The trio of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny was reunited and scored the lone goal against the Stars, but for my money, the top six that the Flyers began the season with could be worth another look.

Claude Giroux – Kevin Hayes – Jake Voracek
Oskar Lindblom – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny

It’s tough not having Sean Couturier as the Flyers’ top-line center, but that’s really just an on-paper title. These two groups give the Flyers a 1A and 1B line, which should create matchup problems for other teams. One of the duos of Giroux-Voracek or Couturier-Konecny will be matched up against the opposition’s second-pair defense and second-best defensive line, giving them an edge. On top of that, Farabee adds a dimension to the third line that could have other teams altering their gameplan.

The stats, albeit a small sample size, back that up.

 

TOI CF CA CF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF%

Giroux-Hayes-Voracek

28:55

32 20 61.54% 19 12 61.29% 7 2

77.78%

Lindblom-Couturier-Konecny

41:03

48 23 67.61% 24 10 70.59% 8 2

80.00%

TOTAL

69:58

80 43 65.04% 43 22 66.15% 15 4

78.95%

Giroux-Couturier-Konecny

33:21

48 21 69.57% 17 12 58.62% 4 3

57.14%

Lindblom-Hayes-Voracek

17:10

14 12 53.85% 8 7 53.33% 5 2

71.43%

TOTAL 50:31 62 33 65.26% 25 19 56.82% 9 5

64.29%

 

The top-six forwards have produced a similar corsi for (shot attempts), but the scoring chance and high-danger chance numbers favor the early groupings.

Having said that, both groups are great options for the Flyers. Hell, they could even throw Farabee on the second line, or move JVR up and slide Voracek or someone else down to support the rookie on the third line.

The most important thing to remember is that the Flyers are moving in the right direction. Farabee was sent down after an impressive camp, worked his tail off in four very impressive AHL games, and is raring to go at the NHL level now. Patrick’s progression is a good sign as well.

It’s been a frustrating four games for the Flyers, but they are getting closer to where they should be.

What do you think?