Looking forward to Farabee’s first goal by looking back at his teammates’ firsts
Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember some veterans’ first goals
Joel Farabee’s call-up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was a breath of fresh air for Philadelphia Flyers fans. While the season is still young, bringing up a rookie forward, who just barely missed the cut out of camp, after only four games in the AHL (3 goals, 1 assist) is a sign to all of us that, yes, this regime is a little different than its predecessor.
I’ve made a point to say, multiple times on BSH Radio, that I don’t want to re-litigate the Hextall era. Then, of course, we (I) go on to do exactly that. I fall into my own traps. It happens. But in this context I believe it is worth mentioning that, a year ago, none of us would have dreamed this organization would call up a 19-year-old who’d scored three goals in his first four games to help out an NHL offense that was creating a lot of shots and chances, but not nearly enough goals to match their efforts. This regime did that. That’s good.
Anyway, the NHL season is long. While, certainly, we will live and die with every fourth line deployment, and sure, some games are bigger than others (I’ll always measure this team against the Penguins, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they matchup on 10/29), I think we can all agree sometimes focusing on small landmarks helps give each game a story and meaning of its own.
In the foreseeable future, I can’t think of a larger milestone than Joel Farabee’s first NHL goal. It’s just fun to think about- do you think he pokes a point-to-point pass and earns himself a breakaway? Maybe a lucky bounce or deflection could give him confidence and open up the floodgates to a hot start? Could we see a power play one-timer from the faceoff circle? Yes please.
With this in mind, I fell down a YouTube hole of other orange and black debut tallies, and figured this could be a fun way to help me reach my content quota. So, without further ado...
Drafted 22nd overall, 2006
First goal: January 27, 2009 @ Florida Panthers - eighth game of career, sixth of season.
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period on Simon Gagne’s 20th of the season, but allowed the game to be tied four minutes later, and the opening period would end even at one.
Florida took hold of the game with a pair of second period goals, but it was Giroux, two weeks after his 21st birthday, who gave the Flyers life in the first two minutes of the third period, scoring the first of his career on a feed from Darroll Powe. Philadelphia wouldn’t score again, shockingly enough, but G was officially here.
Ah, the good ol’ days, simpler times when G was lined with Darroll freakin’ Powe.
Giroux is currently tenth in franchise history with 236 regular season goals. Two times has G scored exactly 28 times in a season. If he reaches that total this year, he’ll tie Simon Gagne for ninth place on the franchise list.
Although No. 28, who rocked No. 56 during his two-game emergency call-up in February 2008, wasn’t able to score in that brief stint with the team he’d eventually go on to captain, there was this one pretty cool moment when he made his NHL debut in his home province.
James van Riemsdyk
Drafted 2nd overall, 2007
First goal: October 24, 2009 vs Florida Panthers - sixth game of career.
This was the David Booth Game.
Booth tied the game at one with five minutes left in the first after Danny Briere gave Philly an early lead. The Flyers took control with a pair of goals in the 2nd period, but a minute after picking up his second assist of the middle stanza on a power play goal scored by Simon Gagne, Mike Richards laid out Booth, earning himself an interference major, as well as a game misconduct.
The Flyers killed the penalty and ended up adding two more goals in the final period to end any doubt. JVR’s first career goal was the final tally, putting the Flyers up 5-1 with three minutes to go.
The 2007 second overall pick started his career with points in four of his first five games, all assists, until finally lighting the lamp in his sixth career game.
van Riemsdyk put up seven points in his first six games as a 20-year-old rookie, and 18 points in his first 16 games. Unfortunately, the elder of the van Riemsdyk brothers, who accounted for 74 points in 67 games during his time at the University of New Hampshire, only recorded 17 points in 62 regular season games to close his rookie campaign.
For his career, JVR has averaged about one-third of a goal per game, which comes out to around 27 goals in an 82-game season. van Riemsdyk has hit at least that total five times in his career. If he does again this year, that will give him (at least) 101 goals as a Philadelphia Flyer, placing him between Eric Desjardins (93) and Brayden Schenn (109) for 36th in team history.
With this season plus three more left on his contract (expansion draft notwithstanding), JVR will need to average about 20 goals a year to get into the franchise’s all-time top-20. The twentieth spot is currently held by Scott Hartnell (157).
For fun, here’s JVR scoring his second first goal in orange and black.
Drafted 78th overall, 2012
First goal: November 17, 2015 vs Los Angeles Kings - fourth game of career, second of season.
Ghost wasted little time getting on the scorecard once he got a call-up thanks to Mark Streit’s pubic plate detachment (never forget). The Union product picked up an assist on Wayne Simmonds’ game-tying goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in his first action of 2015.
It was three days later, in his second game of the season, that the 2012 third round pick potted the first of 17 that year- the most ever by a Philadelphia rookie blue-liner.
Drew Doughty took a tripping penalty and Ghost scored 20 seconds into the man advantage. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek got the assists on the goal, as they have together 10 other times in their careers, as well (22% of Gostisbehere’s regular season tallies have come off of assists from both G and Jake; nine of the 11 have come on the power play, and three have been walk-offs in OT).
Overall, 18 of Ghost’s career regular season goals have been assisted by Voracek (39%), while Philly’s captain has had a hand in 24 of Ghost’s goals (52%).
G also has the primary assist on both of Shayne’s playoff goals, each of which opened the game’s scoring and came via the power play. The Flyers won both games, the first of which took place on Gostisbehere’s 23rd birthday.
Ghost’s 46 goals are 6th most in franchise history by a defenseman. Mark Howe owns the team record for goals by a back-ender with 138. Howe’s total leads Eric Desjardins, who sits in second in franchise history, by 45. Ghost (6th) sits 46 goals behind Desjardins.
Drafted 104th overall, 2015
First goal: October 6, 2018 @ Colorado Avalanche - second game of career.
Boy, weren’t we excited when Vorobyev started the 2018-19 campaign with an assist in game one and a goal in game two? We were just kids, I suppose.
Drafted 24th over, 2015
First goal: October 25, 2016 vs. Buffalo Sabres - seventh game of career.
Like JVR and Ghost, TK got off to a hot start once he made the team. Konecny had registered five assists through his first six games, and had been dangerous with 13 shots on goal while playing less than 15 minutes a night.
But it was in in his seventh career game that TK demonstrated what kind of a spark he could be. Trailing 3-0 with a power play opportunity in the first five minutes of the third period, Konecny lead off a comeback, redirecting an Ivan Provorov one-timer behind Anders Nilsson to get his team on the board.
Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit each scored PPGs of their own late in the period to tie the game, then Jake and G each netted their shootout attempts to even the team’s record at 3-3-1.
Now an emotional leader for the Broad Street Bullies, TK showed off a little of what was to come in this one. His first career playoff goal was another demonstration of the energy and excitement No. 11 brings to the lineup.
Drafted 7th overall, 2015
First goal: November 23, 2016 @ Tampa Bay Lightning - twenty-first game of career.
Provy notched an assist in the first game of his career, nabbing the primary on a Mark Streit goal to put the Flyers up 4-0 in the final two minutes of the second period.
Over his next 19 games, the final box scores weren’t kind to the 19-year-old Russian-born defenseman. Provorov picked up no goals, six assists and a minus-nine rating (dear lord I just cited plus-minus) during that time.
Then, Provorov scored his first goal.
Having picked up seven of the last 10 standings points, the Flyers took on the 12-7-1 Tampa Bay Lightning. With three second left in the first period, Victor Hedman gave his Bolts the lead with a maddening power play goal.
To answer, Provy picked up an assist, only his third in the previous 13 games, on a Dale Weise (of all freakin’ people) game-tying goal early in the second period. In the final minute of the middle frame, Provorov gave the Flyers their first lead of the night by netting his first, from Matt Read and Mark Streit.
The Flyers gave up three unanswered to give the game back to Tampa, but Provorov beginning to come into his own started to show tangible results later that week. Although the Flyers lost their very next game, too, they then went on to win ten straight, with Provy picking up seven points over those 12 games.
I know how that year ended. But it was the Hakstol era. I’ll take anything. Besides, Provy’s looking pretty decent now, isn’t he?
Drafted 17th overall, 2014
First goal: December 14, 2017 vs. Buffalo Sabres - twenty-eighth career game.
This was the low-point, right? The Travis-ty(TM).
Despite winning the previous four games, the Flyers were merely 12-11-7 on the season (.517 points-percentage), and while Ron Hextall’s first ever draft pick was usually playing, he’d already sat as a healthy scratch three times. Despite being viewed as a vaunted puck mover and points-producer (160 points over 145 games between the WHL and AHL, including playoffs, from 2014-15 through 2015-16), Sanheim had only picked up four points (all assists) through his first 27 games.
Sanheim scored his first career goal during the Flyers’ fifth win of six straight, tying a game against the Buffalo Sabres at one, en route to a 2-1 victory.
The former Calgary Hitman played in the next six (Flyers went 2-3-1), and then sat the bench for five consecutive games. The fourth defenseman selected in the 2014 entry draft, Sanheim dressed one more time, a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils in which he played 6:02, didn’t record a point, was a minus-one (plus-freakin’-minus again), and finished his limited action with a corsi-for rating around 25%, before being sent down to the AHL with five points in 35 games.
Upon his return to the NHL on March 10, Sanheim picked up his production, earning credit for five points (1 goal, 4 assists), while playing in the final 14 regular season games (Flyers went 8-3-3), matching his point total from his initial 35-game stint.
Inexplicably, Sanheim only dressed in four of six playoff games that year. What a time it truly was to be alive.
Drafted 2nd overall, 2017
First goal: October 10, 2017 @ Nashville Predators - fourth career game.
Please just be really good, Nolan. Like, if you’re good, the team is going to be good.
Drafted 20th overall, 2012
First goal: December 13, 2014 vs. Carolina Hurricanes - thirteenth game of the season, eighteenth of career.
Laughton got a five-game tryout in lockout-shortened 2013, failing to score a point in his 11:31 per-game, before being sent back to the OHL. Laughton spent the entire next season with the Oshawa Generals, scoring 40 goals and 47 assists as a 19-year-old. The following season, Laughton spent the year split between the AHL and NHL, playing 31 games with the Flyers between mid-November 2014 and mid-February 2015.
Scotty was unspectacular with only six points in his time with the big club, but on 12/13/14, he recorded his only two-point game of the season (and the first of 13 in his career).
Laughton got the secondary assist on a Wayne Simmonds goal to put Philly up 2-0 halfway through the first and then scored his first career goal midway through the second to put his team up 4-1, en route to a 5-1 win over the Panthers.
Undrafted free agent, signed May 2013
First goal: December 9, 2013 @ Ottawa Senators - eighteenth career game.
An international free agent out of Austria, Raffl signed a contract with Philadelphia on May 31, 2013.
A virtual unknown, Raffl quickly made a name for himself as a hard worker at the bottom of the lineup, averaging 12:30 TOI through his first 17 games. Although he’d picked up only 2 assists, Raffl had been credited with 24 hits and 25 shots on goal.
Raffl finally put a biscuit in the basket to open the scoring on an eventual 5-4 shootout loss to the f’n Senators. Raff finished the year with nine goals and 20 points over his last 51 games, cementing his place in the lineup for the next six seasons.
Raffl is one of nine Austrian-born NHLers (that can’t be right, can it?), and third all-time in goals scored by a player of his nationality (Thomas Vanek- 373; Michael Grabner- 158). Raffl is one of only two Austrian-born Flyers. His 73 goals, 136 points, and 419 games played place him well ahead of his lone countryman to wear the Flying P- Andres Nodl (12 goals, 28 points, 127 games played as a Flyer).
Drafted 138th overall, 2014
First goal: March 18, 2018 vs. Washington Capitals - fourteenth career game.
Hextall’s diamond-in-the-rough fifth round draft selection in 2014 went without a point in his first 12 NHL games, following up on a slow start in the AHL that rebounded into an All-Star game selection.
Earning a call-up in late February 2018, everyone was excited to see the Swedish prospect get his shot. While he didn’t look out of place to begin, he wasn’t showing up on the scoresheet. In game 13, Lindblom got his first assist, a primary, on Jake Voracek’s third period game-tying goal. Philadelphia ended up beating the Hurricanes 4-2.
The next night, Lindblom scored himself to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead over the Capitals in the closing two minutes of the first period. Philly won the game 6-3.
From the game Lindblom recorded his first assist through the end of that regular season, the Flyers went 7-1-3 to secure a playoff spot, with Lindblom picking up all six of his points for the season (0.55 points-per-game pace).
Drafted 41st overall, 2013
First goal: December 20, 2017 vs. Detroit Red Wings - thirty-fifth career game, thirty-fourth of season.
Drafted 8th overall, 2011
First goal: October 18, 2011 @ Ottawa Senators - fifth career game.
The Flyers recorded their fourth win and ninth point (4-0-1) to start the 2011-12 season when Sean Couturier recorded his first career goal.
Not yet 19 years old, Couts had picked up one assist playing 15 minutes a night through his first four games. But his fifth career game was the start of his first career hot streak. No. 14 picked up the primary assist on Matt Read’s game-opening goal, and Philly took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission and lead 4-1 after 40 minutes.
Late in the third, Couturier made the score 5-1 with his first ever score. Sean followed up his first career two-point night with a goal in the next game and five goals, plus a pair of assists, in the next ten overall.
Suck it, Sens.
Well, that was a fun little journey into the recent past. But while we wait-out the off-time leading up to Farabee’s first career goal, why don’t we take a look at some other Philly firsts?
He got a mention earlier, so why not give him some screen time?
You ever notice that television clips from the earlier half of this decade look closer to footage from the 1970s than what currently airs?
The Flyers used a first round pick on this guy.
He was a draft pick, and he was born in a place called Ogre. He makes the damn list.
I just love the graphics here.
Drafted 82nd overall, 2016
First goal: October 12, 2019 @ Vancouver Canucks - third career game.
I’m going to be honest- I already forgot this happened. Twarynski is already back down in the AHL, giving way to Farabee. Since he’s part of the impetus for this piece, I’ll give him the final spot.
Ok, so it’s time to make some predictions. When doe Farabee score his first? Give me the details. How do you think it’s going to go? Discuss in the comments, please and thank you.