Flyers winger Joel Farabee is beefier — he gained nine pounds since the playoffs ended in September — and wiser as he prepares for his second NHL season.
“It’s my second camp, so I definitely feel a lot more confident,” he said the other day. “I know everybody around here, so I didn’t have to worry about figuring out where people are, and stuff like that. That’s a huge thing. I think for a lot of guys that come in for their first year, they don’t really know what is going on.”
Farabee, who will turn 21 next month, is also a more relaxed player.
“Last year, I feel like I got rid of the puck a lot when I didn’t have to,” said Farabee, who in Wednesday’s scrimmage played right wing on a line with center Kevin Hayes and left winger Claude Giroux. “So just focusing on holding onto it, maybe waiting for a play to open up and stuff like that.”
Farabee had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and a plus-6 rating in 52 games as a rookie, and added five points (three goals, two assists) in 12 postseason games, He showed glimpses of being a special player with his high hockey IQ and his ability to generate scoring chances for himself and his teammates.
“The first year gave me a good idea of where I needed to be for my second year,” he said. “I spent a lot of time back at home working out, trying to build a lot of leg muscle and stuff like that. … So I’m definitely feeling strong, feeling good and ready to get going here.”
The added weight — Farabee is now at 185 pounds — should help him win more puck battles, which he has done early in training camp.
“I have taken notice of his protection skills and his one-on-one battles where he has been involved,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “There’s no doubt that’s going to be beneficial to him. He’s come here extremely prepared. He’s got almost a full year of experience with him starting last year in the minors, getting called up and obviously the stoppage of play. He’s a good young player who’s in his learning curve.”
Vigneault said Farabee, a first-round draft pick in 2018 (14th overall) who starred at Boston University in his one season there, “hasn’t reached his full potential yet, but he’s working real hard. I do think that extra muscle is going to help him moving forward here.”
Like Farabee, center Morgan Frost got stronger with offseason workouts.
Unlike Farabee, who is a lock to make the team, Frost is not guaranteed a roster spot. If Nolan Patrick is healthy and ready to start the season, Frost will try to earn a spot as an extra player or as a taxi-squad member.
“My goal is to make the Flyers, so that is all that is on my mind right now,” said Frost, who had seven points (two goals, five assists) in a 20-game look-see with the Flyers last season.
Frost, 21, said he was focusing on “being a 200-foot player and the details that the coaches share with us before practice. I think I can do some things offensively, but if I can contribute in other ways, it will give me a better chance to make the team.”
Drafted in the first round (27th overall) in 2017, Frost is comfortable at center, “but I can adapt to wing, and whatever gives me a chance to play for this team, I am willing to learn” if the coaches ask him to change positions.