It wasn’t that long ago that Joel Farabee said he wanted to play his entire career in Philadelphia.
It was just shy of 18 months ago, when Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher announced that Farabee had signed a six-year, $30 million contract extension with the Flyers. Farabee couldn’t have been happier, and Philadelphia was becoming his home.
A lot has happened since then, including a scary disc replacement surgery in his neck, the rehabilitation process, and the Flyers’ hiring of coach John Tortorella.
It was that confluence of events that brought the team and Farabee to a point this week where all of a sudden his name is showing up on Frank Seravalli’s trade target list.
Here’s Frank’s report from Daily Faceoff on Farabee:
Surprise, surprise. Farabee is one of the biggest surprises to hit the board this season. Sources say Farabee’s camp has voiced their displeasure to the Flyers as to how this season has unfolded under coach John Tortorella. Things came to a boil when Farabee skated just 3:52 in Calgary earlier this week. Farabee is a talented kid but has struggled this season after undergoing artificial disk replacement late in the summer, which limited his training. That prompted Tortorella to say he wasn’t going to “let Farabee hide behind that,” which didn’t help. He’s also played on the fourth line. The Flyers don’t want to trade Farabee at his lowest value. There is no formal trade request made from Farabee’s camp, but they’re seeking answers on a solution, especially since it’s clear that Tortorella isn’t going anywhere.
Let’s break this down:
1) Frank’s reporting is solid. He’s one of those national insiders wo gets a lot of information sent his way, so don’t just dismiss this. There is strife here.
2) “Farabee’s camp” voicing displeasure is his agent, Shawn Hunwick (who also represents James van Riemsdyk). What that means is Hunwick hasn’t asked for a trade on behalf of Farabee, but what it does mean is Hunwick has basically called the Flyers GM and said, “WTF, Chuck?”
“This is news to me. Is his agent popping off that he’s pissed off? He should shut up.”
– John Tortorella on the report about Joel Farabee’s camp (presumably his agent) being frustrated with how season has unfolded under Tortorella
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) February 24, 2023
3) Torts is being especially hard on Farabee compared to other players, and it’s because he sees him as a guy, considering his salary, that should be doing more. Farabee is mired in a terrible slump and only has nine goals and 26 points this season.
4) There’s no doubt Farabee has likely hit a wall, considering how his offseason training was impacted by the surgery.
5) The biggest issue here is the fact that no one is saying he was rushed back by the Flyers. Change the medical staff all you want, the culture of hockey isn’t any different. As such, if you can tough it out through an injury, you play, If you can get back without risk of reinjuring yourself, you play. And that’s where this problem has manifested. Farabee was originally expected to be out until mid-November. He played opening night. He may have been physically cleared as far as the injury was concerned, but rather than give him the time he needed to ramp up his stamina for the season coming off the surgery, the Flyers threw him to the wolves. Might this have been out of desperation to still be competitive this season? Might this expedited return have been borne from the need for offense once it became acutely aware that Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson were going to be down for most, if not the entire season? And if so, is Torts doing him dirty by saying he won’t let Farabee hide behind the injury this season, and then relegating him to fourth line duty and playing him just 3:52 in a game where the Flyers were down to just 10 forwards for the second half of the contest? Is there any wonder why his “camp” would be so upset?
6) The Flyers really don’t want to trade Farabee. I talked to a couple of people in the organization about this and the belief is they can get through it and that with a normal offseason, Farabee will be back on track for next season, which is far more important than contributing the rest of this season’s lost campaign. But then you have to consider the coach/player relationship. How much repair can be made there? Are they both willing to concede a little on each side of the argument? If so, this can work and Farabee can once again be a solid contributor for the Flyers. If not, than the Flyers will be forced to trade Farabee, because guess what, Torts isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
7) I also got the impression that even if the Flyers are forced to trade Farabee, that it very likely won’t be at the deadline, and would wait until the summer. The situation is not FUBAR right now, although if it isn’t addressed, it could end up there.
8) Farabee’s trade value right now is shit. Not only is he not producing, but because all the talk surrounds him not being ready to play a full-season coming off the surgery, it also puts some doubt into other GMs’ heads that Farabee can be damaged goods. If you are going to trade Farabee, you need to get good value in return. In lieu of that, everyone involved – Farabee, Torts, Fletcher and all the Flyers faithful – need to just chalk this up as a down season related to the injury and look for next season to provide a much better assessment of Farabee the player. It’s highly doubtful that Torts wants Farabee gone, he just wants more out of him. In fact:
“By any stretch, I have not given up on Joel Farabee.”
– John Tortorella
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) February 24, 2023
9) If, however, everything goes to hell between Farabee and Torts, and by extension, the entire organization, then the Flyers will look to move him during the summer where they can at least try to maximize his value with more interested teams looking to deal.
10) It’s worth noting, that well-run teams don’t have things like this happen. But, these are your Flyers in 2022-23. Sigh.
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