As the 2021-22 Flyers season mercifully starts to wind down, the experimenting has begun. Interim coach Mike Yeo has started playing with his lineups now that Claude Giroux is gone and the injuries are still limiting his available roster. He has turned to utilizing some of the younger players on the roster in unique ways, so far with positive results.
22-year-old Joel Farabee has played all over the Flyers lineup during his three seasons in Philly, from fourth line grinder to top line scorer as well as playing on both wings. Lately he has been given the reins as the team’s top line center, a hole left thanks to the absence of Sean Couturier. Given the fact that Farabee is one of the only players on the roster who has dynamic ability to his offensive game, slotting him at center should help spark a scoring touch that has been desperately lacking.
21-year-old Cam York has spent the last few months slowly being worked into the NHL on the third defense pair playing on the right side, his off side, with Keith Yandle. Though with Provorov spiraling and his longtime defense partner Justin Braun traded at the deadline, the top RHD spot was open, now being filled by York. He typically plays on the left, but has not looked out of place on the right. Putting Provorov with a skilled partner has also helped steady his game, which has been struggling to say the least.
Their respective success at unfamiliar positions is a big positive, but it can’t take the heat off of the front office to find proper players to address the gaping hole at center and on defense. But the versatility of the young stars being able to comfortably transition to different positions has been a huge missing link to the Flyers’ roster for years now.
At this point in the season it’s time to enjoy any positives that spring up, and the emergence of Farabee and York as responsible, dynamic players is a huge building block for the future. With over a dozen games still left in the season, hopefully more positives continue to roll in. Some feel good bright spots will go a long way after this season from hell.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com