Joel Farabee came to the Flyers as the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft. It didn’t take long for the Syracuse native to make his way onto the big club. In the 2019-20 COVID-shortened season, he made a big impression on the team. He scored eight goals with 13 assists in his rookie season. In the playoff bubble, he would add another three goals with two assists.
There was no sophomore slump for Farabee. He would score 20 goals and add 18 assists in 55 games. The following season, he would tally 17 goals and 17 assists on a last-place team; good for fifth on the team and behind seasoned vets such as Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, Claude Giroux, and James van Riemsdyk.
For a team that was, in all intents and purposes, craptacular. he was a bright spot. He paired up really well with Atkinson and formed a formidable pair on the second line. By all outward appearances, you could surmise that Farabee and TK would form a line that would devastate defenses and goalies in the Metro for years to come; as Jeff Carter and Mike Richards used to back in the day.
Joel Farabee is still dealing with lingering injuries on the Flyers
Then Farabee got hurt. He had to have disc replacement surgery, similar to the one Jack Eichel had to have. The recovery from an injury like that was expected to be three to four months. Instead of missing some time, he came right into training camp and hit the ice running. But was it the right move?
Neck injuries are no laughing matter. I remember hearing Peyton Manning talk about having a spinal disc removal/fusion surgery. If you remember, at the time he was on the Colts, missed a season, became a free agent, and then joined the Broncos. But I remember him saying something to the effect of if he didn’t have the surgery, there was no way he could turn his head without moving his whole upper torso.
Many teams shied away from Manning because, if he got hit, could that end his career? As we remember, he won the Super Bowl that year. Still, it does strike fear in you. One bad hit and BOOM…career, if not life, gone.
So, Farabee may have that in the back of his head. Maybe he is scared of getting hit. It’s hard to say. Whatever it is, he is not playing to where he is capable.
In the last 10 games, he has two points a goal against the Islanders on Nov. 26, and an assist in the victory over Colorado on Dec. 5. That’s it. If you take away the last 10 games, he has four goals and nine assists in 20 games; almost a half point a game. That’s not terrible, but 2 points in 10 games is not good for a player with his talents.
For a rising star, who signed a six-year, $30 million contract extension with the Flyers in September 2021, we need him to get back to where he was. For this team to move forward, he needs to get better. Maybe time and confidence are all he needs. But if he can find that spark, this team will be going in the right direction. He’s got the talent. We need him to be Joel Farabee again.