Flyers analysis

Despite his career year, Flyers hope Farabee ‘takes a step,' sees ‘more there'

The Flyers' 24-year-old winger set career highs in scoring but his numbers dipped down the stretch

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Joel Farabee became a 50-point scorer this season and played all 82 games for a second straight year.

His career highs in goals (22) and assists (28) made him one of three Flyers to record 50 or more points.

He's the only Flyer to score 15 or more goals in each of the last four seasons.

But by looking at the 24-year-old's role down the stretch and listening to Danny Briere's comments, it appears the Flyers weren't overly thrilled with Farabee's 2023-24 season.

And that's not an awful thing. The Flyers see more upside in Farabee. If they are proven right, that will be good for their rebuild.

Does Farabee have 30-goal, 60-point potential? Can he be an all-situation player? These were the type of questions the Flyers had a couple of offseasons ago with Travis Konecny.

At his end-of-the-season press conference 10 days ago, Briere highlighted Farabee and Noah Cates as two young forwards that can be better next season.

"For me, I hope Farabee takes a step," the Flyers' general manager said. "I hope that Cates takes a step. I think both of these guys maybe didn't develop quite as much as I would have hoped for. I think there's more there with those two guys, they can take a bigger role on the team."

Farabee was on a tear past the halfway mark of the season, putting up 17 goals and 22 assists in 47 games. He had a plus-11 rating and was a key reason why the Flyers had surged into second place around mid-January.

Over the final 35 games, Farabee had five goals, six assists and a minus-24 mark.

"Personally, I would have liked to help a lot more and produce more, but the past is the past," he said 12 days ago at his end-of-the-season press conference. "It sucks. I take a lot of responsibility for a lot of that stuff. I definitely need to be a lot better."

Over the Flyers' last 12 games, a stretch in which the team lost eight straight and fell out of the playoff race, Farabee had one goal and no assists. But it's worth noting that he saw fourth-line minutes in April, playing under 12 minutes three times.

"I think any year, after the All-Star break, the games get a lot harder, teams are fighting for playoff spots, so the game changes a bit," Farabee said. "I think my role on the team, too, where I was playing, I think I'm one of those guys that can play up and down the lineup, for sure. I think when you're playing third and fourth line sometimes, you have to give up some of the offense to focus on the defensive game and focus on the D-side of things. For me, whatever role I was given, I tried to do that to my best ability. I wish I could have produced a lot more and helped the team in that aspect."

One of Farabee's strengths even since he was a 19-year-old rookie has been his ability to scale a lineup. He can score in your top six and be effective in your bottom six. His next step could be playing consistently on the Flyers' top two lines.

"I think one of the things that I pride myself on is being able to play many different spots and things like that, but obviously personally, I'd love to be solidified in the top six and play as much as I can," Farabee said. "But at the end of the day, it's a long season and things change, guys are playing well at certain times. It's not something that I need to lock into one spot or anything like that. Whatever role I'm given that night, I really just try to do to the best of my ability."

The 2018 first-round pick will play for the U.S. at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship next month before eventually coming back to the area to prepare for another training camp.

Meanwhile, the Flyers will stay open-minded this summer.

Konecny, now the team's leading scorer and two-time All-Star, dealt with his share of trade speculation as the Flyers started to turn into a rebuilding team. Considering the Flyers' position, there may be some noise around Farabee's name moving forward.

But the Flyers should not lose sight of his upside, either.

"If there's a trade that makes sense, that can bring more talent, there's a way that makes sense, maybe it's a hockey a trade, we're definitely open for business," Briere said of the Flyers' offseason. "We're going to keep exploring that."

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