The Philadelphia Flyers may have the deepest offensive group in the National Hockey League, and two of those young players impressed the most in an opening night win over rivals Pittsburgh.
Joel Farabee became the 10th different Flyers player to register a four-point game, while Nolan Patrick scored his first goal since March 2019 in a 6-3 beatdown of the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday night. It was a strong season debut for both players, who expect to be major pieces of the team this season.
“Joel is a hard-working kid,” Flyers center Kevin Hayes said about Farabee. “He came into the league as a young kid and he excelled. He has a year under his belt, and he had a long off-season to get bigger and faster. Like I said, he works hard. He works at his craft and he had a career night probably. He had four points. Kudos to him and he is going to keep working hard.”
Farabee scored one goal and registered three assists on Wednesday night, showing off his passing ability while doing some physical work in front of Pens goalie Tristan Jarry. He muscled his way to score his first goal of the season, a testament to the off-season work the New York native delivered this past fall and winter.
After showing positive moments in his first NHL season, the goal for Farabee will be to continue developing and producing for the Flyers offense. The team remains a Stanley Cup contender this season and Farabee might be one of the team’s underrated stars when its all said and done.
“I believe that him putting the time and the effort that he did this summer shows his willingness to work on becoming the best player he can be,” Flyers head coach Vigneault said about Farabee. “There is no doubt that there is a lot of skill and tools in Joel, but he is putting in the time and the effort and that is what players need to do. Tonight, he came up real strong for us. I thought that line was effective. Their willingness to go to the net and stop in front was evident. There is no doubt that Joel was a big part of that line and the two goals that we got on the power play and getting the job done for us.”
As for Patrick, it was his first appearance for the Flyers since the end of the 2018-19 season. Patrick missed all of last season due to chronic migraine issues, but has returned to the fold for the Flyers this Winter.
The 22-year-old redirected Erik Gustafsson’s shot past Jarry for his first goal, showing his figure and hand-eye coordination on the effort. When healthy, Patrick has been an eye-catching talent for the Flyers (62 points in 141 career regular season games) and could add to those totals this season.
Vigneault and his players aren’t sure what to expect from Patrick in the remaining 55 regular season, but know his talent level is impressive when he is on the ice.
“I don’t know [what Patrick’s impact could be in 2021],” Vigneault said. “I don’t think anyone knows at this point. He didn’t play at all. He hasn’t played at all in must be since April the year prior to me getting here. He hasn’t played in quite some time. But I see him walking around. I see him walking around with a jump in his step and a smile on his face. There is no doubt that he is happy to be back. Every day that he is around our team and on the ice and with his teammates, he gets better. Where that will lead, only time can tell.
“It’s been pretty fun watching Patty,” Flyers forward Travis Konecny said. “He is in a really, really good spot right now. It’s just really good to see him having fun again and not worrying about all the stats and how he is going to play when he comes back. He is just having fun playing hockey. He is working hard. He deserves to get rewarded. He has put in a lot of time and effort into getting where he is right now. It is scary. He is only going to get better. It is his first game back in a long time and he looks that good. It is incredible to see where has come and it is nice to see him get one.”
Both players will aim to lead the Flyers to a second-straight win of the season on Friday against Pittsburgh.