This year’s draft class is one of the deepest in recent memory, and that becomes evident when you see that a player like Joel Farabee is slated to be selected outside the top 10. The Cicero, New York native is one of the best two-way threats available in the draft, combining outstanding offensive production and suffocating defensive prowess.
Birthplace: Cicero, New York
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 160 lbs.
There are a lot of buzzwords in that last sentence,. Typically, someone being heralded as a “two-way player” is someone who is not going to blow people away with his play at either end of the ice, but is instead adequate enough to not hamper his team at either end. Farabee looks like the rare type of player to excel in both facets of the game with his combination of quick skating and great awareness on the ice. He’s always in a position to make plays happen and cut options for the other team.
For this reason, he is one of the most effective penalty killers in the US National Team Development Program. He has his stick consistently in passing lanes and forces opponents to the outside. Due to his ability to be on top of puck-carriers in an instant, he is a constant threat to escape the other way for a short-handed chance.
The prospect also applies the same energy to his forecheck. He is very good at limiting defenders’ time with the puck and causes his fair share of turnovers that become dangerous chances for his team.
Farabee will head off to Boston University next year, and will likely be a fixture in their offence alongside Brady Tkachuk in one of the NCAA’s premier programs. He’s had strong showings at the U18 World Championship in consecutive years, and lit the NTDP on fire this year, playing at over a point-per-game pace while serving as team captain.
Scouts have raved about his skating and how his edgework opens up space for him on the ice, and how he uses that to put the puck on net, or get it to one of his teammates. Farabee is a very good passer, and, even if he rarely tries for the one-on-one play, has underrated hand skills. There's more than a few moves in his arsenal that he saves for the right moment.
Another quality of the forward is that he rarely reveals what he is going to do with the puck. He constantly attacks the slot as he enters the offensive zone, and has the abilty to pass or shoot with a quick adjustment in his stickhandling depending on what is open in front of him.
While he can sometimes overthink plays and opt for a highlight-reel pass as opposed to a shot, it’s a minimal drawback that can be worked on as he matures in the NCAA and professional ranks.
Rankings (not all rankings are final)
Future Considerations: #15
Hockey Prospect: #8
ISS Hockey: #11
McKeen’s Hockey: #12
NHL Central Scouting: #12 (North American skaters)
While the opening half of the first round is loaded with skilled wingers, with players like Tkachuk, Filip Zadina, and Andrei Svechnikov available early on, overlooking Farabee in the middle selections of the round would be a massive mistake. He isn’t as flashy as some of the players listed above, but he is almost ruthlessly efficient at getting the puck to his teammates or into the back of the net. He’s more the victim of a stacked draft than his own abilities, and he’s going to make one team just outside the top ten very happy come draft day.
It’s clear that there’s a lot in Farabee’s game to appeal to any team drafting in the lottery portion of the first round, and he represents an intriguing option for a team who may want to trade down or back into round one.
For the Montreal Canadiens, they won’t be passing up one of the superior talents available at third overall, but with so many quality defensive options and other forwards available in round one, obtaining a second pick in the first round could perhaps give them a shot at the multi-talented forward.
Farabee is capable of scoring efficiently, does well on the defensive side of the puck, and skates like the wind up and down the ice while being the leader on his team. That may sound a bit like another American winger in the Canadiens system.
Obviously there are no guarantees their careers go the same way, but if the Habs want to take a risk and trade themselves into a position for Farabee, it’s one that could very well pay off in the future.