From Jakub Voracek to Alain Vigneault, Joel Farabee turning heads (and ankles) at Flyers training camp

Jordan Hall
NBC Sports Philadelphia

VOORHEES, N.J. - Kurtis Gabriel was sitting between Jakub Voracek and Joel Farabee in the Flyers' dressing room at Skate Zone.

Voracek is entering his 12th NHL season. He was a 2015 All-Star and owns the league's ninth-most assists in the past five years.

As Farabee removed his gear, Voracek glanced over at Gabriel and smiled.

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"Guy broke my ankles," Voracek said of the 19-year-old Farabee.

The kid is turning heads … and ankles.

During a drill Saturday, Farabee had the puck along the boards with Voracek in pursuit. Farabee made a quick jolt to his right, then jetted left. Voracek jumped back, biting on the fake before recovering.

"I was thinking I could catch up to him, right?" Voracek said with a laugh.

"It's not easy for us 30-year-olds, especially in the second day of training camp. I'm sure I'll get him one time."

Suffice it to say, Farabee is getting noticed. For those fueling his roster case, you couldn't have asked for a better start. With Travis Konecny's absence, general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr placed Farabee on a line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier to open camp.

Just how seamlessly is the young winger clicking with the team's big boys?

"Today, for me, obviously this is just practice," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said, "but he showed that he belonged there.

"He was making some plays, he was working hard at both ends of the ice, it was fun to see. If you're him, playing with two pretty good players, it's a great opportunity and we'll see what happens moving forward."

The natural chemistry between Giroux, Couturier and Farabee has been eye-catching through two days of camp. The 2018 first-round pick knows how to find open gaps, play off their abilities - and he just works, works and works.

Below is a sustained possession that was all possible because of Farabee's relentless pursuit of the puck. Coaches watched it on the ice and front office officials saw it from the balcony above.

"When I play my worst games, it's when I'm not really hard on pucks, when I'm not forechecking," Farabee said. "I've learned over the years, when I play my best, it's when I'm all over guys, just forechecking. When I do that, I play my best. That's just what I'm trying to do right now."

Prior to the announcement of Nolan Patrick's injury and Konecny's hiatus from camp, Farabee was already in position to push for a vacancy on the Flyers' third line. Suddenly, the Flyers could be looking for more depth within their group of forwards.

"We've got some decisions to make," Vigneault said. "That's what you want in camp. You need surprises, we need some of these young kids to step up and force us into some decisions. That's how your team gets better and we're going to give them an opportunity to do that.

"There's no doubt that Coots, Giroux and Farabee were dominant in the little 5-on-5 competitions that we had, whether it be on the forecheck or whether it be in the offensive zone play."

What did Voracek see?

"Smart player, it's not always easy to jump into a line with Coots and G and understand right away what they want from you," he said. "It looks like he does understand what they want - it's really hard to do. He's doing a great job so far.

"It's been two practices, it's hard to judge it because we haven't played games yet. Trust me, the games are different than the practices."

Starting Monday, the Flyers have four preseason games in six days.

Keep an eye on the ankles.

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From Jakub Voracek to Alain Vigneault, Joel Farabee turning heads (and ankles) at Flyers training camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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