The Flyers’ acquisition of center Nate Thompson at the trade deadline wasn’t a surprise. But when they picked up Derek Grant, that’s when the speculation revved up.
Thompson will take Connor Bunnaman’s spot as the fourth-line center. Bunnaman had played pretty well, but hadn’t registered a point in 14 games. No shock here.
But where does Grant fit in? Would Scott Laughton move to wing? Would the Flyers make promising fourth-liner Nic Aube-Kubel a healthy scratch? No and no.
Turns out the odd man out was rookie Joel Farabee, who had been playing decently on the second line before losing his spot late in Saturday’s win over Winnipeg. Farabee joined Bunnaman in being sent to Lehigh Valley, which raised some eyebrows.
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On the inside of Farabee’s right forearm is a tattoo with his favorite Biblical passage:
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12
Farabee is a thoughtful young man, an old soul of sorts. He got the tattoo last year and was talking about it after Monday’s practice, but before he found out he was being sent to the minor leagues ostensibly to make room for Grant.
“The part at the end was the most important part for me: that those will receive the crown of life are those that love the Lord,” he said. “That’s the biggest part. Because, you know, whatever happens, as long as you love God and have faith, everything will sort itself out.”
It’s important to note that the two players acquired on Monday are rentals. The plan, according to GM Chuck Fletcher, is to carry 12 forwards and keep Farabee, Bunnaman or Morgan Frost on speed dial just in case.
“I just want to make sure we are giving Joel every opportunity to be the player he can become,” Fletcher explained. “He’s played fine, and I have no doubt that he will be part of our group again, maybe in the near future.”
As the kid said, things tend to sort themselves out, especially in professional sports.
“Everyone goes through some tough times and stuff. It’s part of life,” Farabee said. “But just having that faith, at least for me, it helps to have something to believe in other than what I can physically see.”
Know what else will test that faith? Today is Farabee’s 20th birthday.
The only game Monday night featured Columbus, which beat Ottawa in overtime to slip into the second wild-card spot. Here are the first-round matchups as of Tuesday morning. Team listed first would have home-ice advantage.
East: Boston-Columbus, Tampa Bay-Toronto, Washington-N.Y. Islanders, Pittsburgh-Flyers.
West: St. Louis-Arizona, Colorado-Dallas, Vegas-Calgary, Edmonton-Vancouver.
Tonight: vs. San Jose, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). The Sharks are 10-0-1 in Philadelphia in the last 17 years, and thumped the Flyers in Cali in December.
Friday: vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). Red-hot rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin suffered a broken rib in a car accident over the weekend and is out for at least several weeks.
Sunday: at N.Y. Rangers, 12 p.m. (NBC). New York defenseman Anthony DeAngelo (Sewell, N.J.) is a restricted free agent after the season. He’s also having a career year with 13 goals and 45 points.
Wednesday, March 4: at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBCSN). The Caps will be looking for revenge after the Flyers spanked them in D.C.
Thursday, March 5: vs. Carolina, 7 p.m. (NBCSP). The Hurricanes picked up Vincent Trocheck and Sami Vatanen on Monday.
Question: How soon do you think “Ghost” plays?
Answer: Not until they lose a couple in a row. Robert Hagg has played well. Myers has been better lately.
Send questions by email or on Twitter (@broadstbull), and they could be answered in a future edition.
Five busiest trade-deadline days since 1979-80:
2020: 32 trades, 55 players (Flyers acquired Derek Grant, Nate Thompson).
2010: 31 trades, 51 players (Flyers were quiet).
2008: 25 trades, 45 players (Flyers were quiet; acquired Vinny Prospal the day before deadline).
2007: 25 trades, 44 players (Flyers acquired Marty Biron).