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February 24, 2023

Joel Farabee reinforces commitment to Flyers in light of trade rumor

After a Daily Faceoff report of displeasure toward the Flyers from Farabee's camp, the young winger dismissed it and reinforced his commitment to the team.

The timing was far from ideal for Joel Farabee and the Flyers, and just as curious. 

On Thursday, with the March 3 NHL trade deadline approaching, a report surfaced from the Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli that Farabee's camp had voiced displeasure toward the organization, leading to trade speculation hot on the heels of a slump for the young winger and a game against Calgary on Monday where he staked just 3:52. 

It's been a brutal few weeks for Farabee, who has only a point in his last 16 games, and a brutal season in general after coming back from needing sudden disk replacement surgery in his neck over the summer. 

He heard about Thursday's report too, but dismissed it and reinforced his commitment to the team. 

If there's any frustration from Farabee himself, it's about his overall play more than anything else. 

"That's where my head's at," he said at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees on Friday. "I think you see stuff on Twitter and you know people start tweeting other stuff... It goes down a rabbit hole on Twitter, so I wouldn't read too much into that."

"I love playing here," Farabee later added. "I love this city. Obviously, my dad's from here so a lot of family ties and things like that. I have no complaints. I really love playing here."

As for head coach John Tortorella's take on the report, presuming Farabee's "camp" meant his agent: "This is really the first I've heard of it. Agent's should just stay out of the business."

"It's been a hard year for Joel," Tortorella said. "He's had some good games. Like I said, it's hard to evaluate this year because, quite honestly, high marks for him coming right back from that operation, but it's been up and down. 

"I don't know what else to say. He'll go tonight. I think he's playing with [Scott Laughton] and [Olle Lycksell] tonight, keep on putting him out there, see where it goes. But this is news to me. Is his agent popping off? Is that what it is? That he's popping off in the media that he's pissed off about Joel?"

Yeah, Tortorella wasn't all too patient with that one. Granted, would anyone expect him to be at this point?

With just 26 points on the season, after leading the Flyers in scoring two years ago, neither Farabee nor Tortorella shied away from the fact that the soon-to-be 23-year old's play hasn't been up to snuff. 

It isn't a matter of ice time or opportunity. Farabee said Friday he's been put in "a lot of good spots, no complaints there," and Tortorella believes he's "been fair as far as the ice time Joel's got." 

But both did acknowledge that the surgery robbed Farabee, who's undersized already at 6'0" and 183 pounds, of a full offseason to lift and put on strength, which may be leaving him stalling out this late into the schedule. 

"I think for me it's just trying to keep my strength up," Farabee said. "Obviously missing the whole summer, lifting, it's tough. But it's no excuse, obviously. My play hasn't been good and I'm fully aware of that.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good player on this team and to help out. Right now, I'm not...Definitely some mental challenges too, but for me, I can't look at that, can't look at that big picture. I think all I can focus in on is tonight [against Montreal]. So big game for us, big back-to-back playing two good teams, and just go from there."

As the 14th overall pick from the 2018 draft and signed to a contract with five years and $25 million still to go, Farabee was positioned as an important piece to the Flyers' future and potentially their next star.

This year's been a struggle, and Thursday's rumor put an even bigger cloud over it, but he can still bounce back and very much be both of those – just look at Travis Konecny this season compared to last.

Tortorella hasn't let Farabee hide his struggles behind the neck surgery throughout the season – and by all accounts, Farabee doesn't seem to want to either – but he's aware of what the surgery cost him in terms of strength and why it's tough to get a full evaluation of him this year because of it. 

"I don't think he's hurt, but he did not have an offseason to get ready and that's where you make your gains, especially for a young man that I still think needs to get stronger," Tortorella said. "The offseason is the only time you can do it. During the season, you're just trying to maintain the best you can. So I know that's hurt him this year and I keep that thought.

"In any stretch, I have not given up on Joel Farabee."

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