It has been a rough and underwhelming season for the Philadelphia Flyers to say the least. As things continue to spiral out of control on the ice there have been a pair of young players who have answered the bell and risen to the occasion, that being 24-year-old Oskar Lindblom and 21-year-old Joel Farabee. While the future of the Flyers is very much in limbo due to the wildly inconsistent season they are producing, there should only be two untouchables if Chuck Fletcher went with a scorched earth policy this summer.
In the past we’ve suggested Lindblom should be in the running for the next team captain, and while that may be a bit of a pipe dream, Lindblom has certainly been one of the few players to step up during the recent struggles. After the 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the Rangers last week, Lindblom scored two goals, including the game winner late in the third, against the Islanders. The following game the Flyers went in an early 4-0 hole and Oskar dropped the gloves with 20-year-old rookie Oliver Wahlstrom. That fight gave Farabee enough life to pot the game’s only goal, but nobody else felt the waves Lindblom tried to create and they ultimately took their second blowout loss in four days. Lindblom also potted the only Flyers goal in Monday’s meeting with the Islanders.
The guy who, one year ago, was fighting cancer is now fighting another human in the NHL because the team was so bad he felt he didn’t have a choice. If that sentence doesn’t infuriate you as a hockey fan, I don’t know what will.
Joel Farabee was filed away under the ‘underperforming youth” category for much of the early part of the season. He racked up four points in the season opener against the Penguins then went on an eight game stretch when he recorded just a single goal. Though ever since the last day of January, he has been a scoring machine for the Flyers. Farabee has registered 11 goals and nine assists in the 19 games since. He seems like a player with a “shoot first” mentality, something the Flyers have been sorely lacking since the hay day of John LeClair.
Farabee has worked his way up to the top line of the Philadelphia Flyers and it’s a role he may not leave anytime soon. After all the prospects that have made the jump to the NHL level, Farabee might finally be the guy who has superstar potential. He already has a career best 13 goals and 25 points through 28 games this season, and at just 80 games into his career, there is plenty of growing left to do. He may be a pillar of the organization for the next decade.
Lindblom and Farabee provide the unique tandem of on-ice heart and inspiration mixed with the talent to carry a franchise. They’re the kind of backbone players that don’t grow on trees. As Lindblom continues to work his way back from overcoming cancer his play will should steady out and hopefully even re-find the hot streak he was on before his diagnosis. For Farabee, the challenge still hides in the growth of his game. What we’re seeing feels like an unfinished product and quite frankly that’s where the excitement stems from. If he can continue to grow as a player, or maybe the front office finds another star for him to play with, the potential associated with Farabee seems unlimited.
Sometimes finding bright spots in the ever-growing pit of darkness that is the Philadelphia Flyers is the only way to remain optimistic with the product they produce. Luckily Lindblom’s courageous spirit is a story everyone can get behind and a player with legitimate talent like Farabee will earn the respect of the fanbase 10 out of 10 times. It may not be the base the Flyers were expecting to build on, but it may be the sturdiest foundation they have had in years.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: phillyvoice.com / thenewshouse.com