DALLAS – If Joel Farabee ever does play for the Flyers, he will have plenty of support from local fans.
That’s because Farabee, selected 14th overall in the first round by the Flyers on Friday night at the NHL Entry Draft, has grandparents who hail from Warminster, Bucks County.
Talk about a hometown favorite.
The 6-0, 164 left wing from the U.S. U-18 team said he grew up a Philadelphia sports fan.
“My dad (Dave) is from Philly (Warminster), I grew up watching the Flyers,’’ Farabee explained. “I grew up a big Phillies fan, so I think it’s cool to be playing in the city.’’
He said he’s watched Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux a lot and really admires his game.
“He’s a good two-way player, smart and I like watching him play,’’ Farabee said during an interview at American Airlines Center. “Hockey IQ, two-way play is something I pride myself on.
“I definitely like scoring but I hate being scored against. That’s kind of my motto.’’
Farabee, whose family now lives in Cicero, N.Y. (a suburb of Syracuse), said that, to be honest, he actually hoped the Flyers had him targeted. They scouted him multiple times.
“I’m not going to lie, actually when I came into the draft, I wanted to be drafted 14th and go to Philly,’’ he said. “I really like their interviews. I talked to them a couple times.’’
What Farabee and O’Brien lack in size, they make up for with other positive traits.
“When we look at the first round, we want guys with hockey sense, w also want character,’’ Hextall said. “If you don’t draft them in the first round, it’s hard to find them.
“Philosophically, that’s the way we approach things.’’
Hextall said he didn’t entertain a trade to move up into the top 10.
“There really wasn’t much there,’’ Hextall insisted.
Was he contacted by people asking about No. 14?
“There were a few things,’’ he disclosed. “But nothing close.’’
The Flyers went into the draft a little surprised they were picking at No. 14 overall.
After making a trade with St. Louis last June that sent Brayden Schenn to the Blues for a 2017 first-round pick (Morgan Frost) and a 2018 pick, the Flyers figured they would be picking as high as 25 to 30.
But a second half of the season swoon by the Blues dropped them to 14 and the Flyers were happy with that development.
“You look at say what type of draft is it, it’s a good draft — our guys thought an average draft — but it’s probably a bit better than that,’’ Hextall said recently.
“We looked and said we got Morgan Frost and we figured (the Blues would pick) 20-30 next year. We weren’t far off. St. Louis is a good team. Start of the year they were right up there. You figure they’re going to be 25-30, well, we were a little bit off and they dropped and it happens. It’s a competitive league.’’
Moves on Saturday?
Because the Flyers have a total of nine picks in the draft and it’s difficult to add that many players into a development system, there’s a good chance Hextall will be active in moving some picks, possibly to next year, in Day 2 of the draft on Saturday.
“Yeah, that’s fair to say,’’ Hextall said. “We would at least look at it harder. If our prospect depth pool was shallow, I’m sure we’d make all our picks. The way it is right now, we would at least listen. Again, I don’t know what’s going to come along, whether we would flop a pick to next year, we would listen to those ideas.’’
That said, Hextall puts a great deal of importance of lower-round picks. Every once in a while, a diamond in the rough – like fifth-rounder Oskar Lindblom in 2014 — tends to work out.
“When you’re talking about third or fourth round, first of all, don’t minimize it,’’ Hextall said. “(In lower rounds) We need to still try and pick a hockey player, it’s important. Pulling guys out of late rounds is important.
“When you look at the cycle of a hockey team and depth and everything that we need, it’s important. We have two seventh-round picks, they’re important. We need to do our best to try to get the best guy and try and hit on a guy. Whether we will or not, I don’t know what the odds say, I think it’s 2.3%, whatever it is. They’re low odds, we know that but we’re going to try to do the best we can to try and hit on those guys because eventually you’re going to hit on some of those guys.’’
The Flyers have signed rookie defenseman Sam Morin to a three-year contract at a reported $700,000 per season. Morin will be out until at least February with a knee injury.
The Humboldt Broncos, victims of a tragic bus accident this past season, received the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence on Friday night. The team received a long standing ovation. . .Next year’s draft will be held in Vancouver. . .On Flyers fans’ possible wish list: Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty, who is on the last year of a six-year deal worth $27 million. He is expected to be dealt this weekend.
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