A lot has been made in training camp about the Philadelphia Flyers getting veteran forwards Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson back in the lineup after missing all of last season.
Joel Farabee played in all 82 games last season, but getting the winger back to his pre-injury form is a pretty big deal, too.
Farabee, 23, has two goals in the preseason and maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign of things to come.
“For me right now, it’s my legs,” he said after scoring in Monday’s 3-1 exhibition win over the Boston Bruins’ “B” team. “I feel like I have jump in my legs.”
The Boston University product clearly wasn’t himself in 2022-23. Before that season, he wasn’t able to do summer workouts because he was recovering from neck surgery. His strength and timing seemed off as he managed 15 goals and 39 points.
“I’m getting to the right spots (now), and whether it’s one stride or two strides in getting to guys, that has really been a difference in my training this summer,” said Farabee, who has one preseason goal from in front, the other on a blast from outside. “I feel like I’m putting myself in good spots in getting to the net, and good things happen when you do that.”
Lots of potential
In 2021-22, he had 17 goals in 63 games, and the year before that, he had 20 goals in just 55 games.
The potential for a 25- to 30-goal season is there for the player drafted in the first round (14th overall) in 2018. He is in much better game shape than at this time last season, and that should translate on the scoresheet.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily one zone or one area” that has improved because he was able to train in the summer, Farabee said. “I feel like on loose pucks, or when I try to beat a guy wide, I have that extra step that I probably didn’t have last year. At the end of the day, just create space for myself and the other guys. I feel like my legs are a lot stronger and I got that step back into my game that I had a couple years ago. I hope I can keep that going.”
So does coach John Tortorella and the rest of the Philadelphia Flyers. In the long run, getting Farabee back to form may be more important that having veterans Couturier and Atkinson return to the lineup.
The Flyers will host the New York Islanders on Thursday in their final preseason game, one that will determine roster spots for several players. … Even though he grew up in upstate New York, Farabee has been huge Phillies fan since he was a youngster. His father, Dave, grew up in Warminster, and passed his love for the Philly sports teams to his son. Farabee and teammates Travis Sanheim and Travis Konecny were at the Phillies’ 4-1 playoff win Tuesday over Florida at Citizens Bank Park.