Could the Flyers put a rookie on the first line?
It would certainly be a bold move.
On Friday, the Flyers made several cuts to their pre-season roster. At forward, both Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost are hanging around (and also Andreoff and Chris Stewart but we’ll ignore them). For now, as the Flyers have seemed to have indicated, the prospects of a prospect or two making the roster out of camp seem to be legitimate. In the limited sample size that I have seen, both Frost and Farabee look like the real deal, and by that I mean solid NHL talent even now. Frost can now keep up with play better, and showed flashes of his brilliance in the Bruins game, where he fed Shayne Gostisbehere with an amazing pass to set up a scoring opportunity in the slot. Farabee has also been impressive with his high work ethic and inherent hockey sense. He also looked very impressive in yesterday’s game against the Rangers. He could’ve easily had two goals had it not been for the post and a nice save.
What interests me the most is that Farabee has seen time on a line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier.
Giroux-Coots-Farabee— Drew Meyer (@DrewMeyerHockey) September 19, 2019
Me: https://t.co/kNzjpxWn6z pic.twitter.com/YkqRbeXc8B
I can bet you that nearly every Flyers fan globally had the same reaction as I did. The thought of an exciting newcomer, one at that who has proven he can keep up with play, paired with two of the best Flyer forwards is certainly bold. For most of the preseason, we have assumed this ‘3RW’ spot will go to...well...a traditional third line right winger. However, that obviously doesn’t need to be the case. Alain Vigneault could very well put either Frost or Farabee with Couturier and Giroux, which in turn would shift Travis Konecny to either 2LW or 3RW. Therefore, the top nine could potentially look like this (assuming there are no injuries. Of course, there’s Nolan Patrick’s issue but I’ll put that aside here):
Giroux - Couturier - Farabee/Frost
Konecny - Hayes - Voracek
Van Riemsdyk - Patrick - Lindblom
I think of Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost, Farabee would make the club at this spot versus Frost. It’s fairly clear that the Flyers want Frost to be brought up as a center, and with Giroux already on the line, there wouldn’t be much need for a playmaking winger. It’s possible they could call up both Farabee and Frost, but if two prospects are on the big club, that other spot will probably go to German Rubtsov, with whom the coaches have been very impressed.
Putting Farabee on the top line would give the Flyers more depth down the rest of the lineup, as Giroux and Couturier really run that line anyway. It would essentially have the same effect as putting Jake Guentzel with Sidney Crosby. While it’s not a direct comparison (I think Farabee is going to be much better than Jake Guentzel, and Crosby is one of the best hockey players of all time), the idea behind it still holds true in this case. Farabee can keep up with the pace of play, and his relentless forechecking and work rate will be of use to the line. It is certainly an interesting concept that could potentially be very beneficial towards Farabee.