So as it turns out this year, it seems to me that more hockey blogs are partaking in the time-honored ILWT/AATJ tradition of generating draft profiles before the annual NHL entry draft. This is a great thing! The more prospects that are delved into, the more we can learn about potential new Devils moving forward.
The reason I bring that up today, however, is that there are already a decent amount of profiles out there for Joel Farabee, left winger from Cicero, New York, just north of Syracuse. There is an obvious reason for this, however. The kid can flat out play. Ascending the ranks in the USNTDP, Joel recently was the captain of the National U18 team, where he produced over a point per game playing on the top line with two other first round talents, Oliver Wahlstrom and Jack Hughes (Hughes is 2019 eligible). Don’t let that dampen what you think of him, however. He was not simply carried along by better prospects. He is projected as a mid-first round selection, and while I think there is a fairly good chance he is off the board by the time NJ picks at 17, there is also a shot that he is still available. Hence, we will do another draft profile of him here.
Who is Joel Farabee?
What you need to know about Farabee is that despite playing on a strong USNTDP U18 team with several other quality players, it was he who was made captain this season. First and foremost, that tells you that whoever drafts this kid is getting a high character guy who looks to not only improve his own game, but make those around him better. That could tip the scales for him in terms of draft position, which could hurt NJ’s chances of seeing him at 17. I have heard this to be considered a deep draft, and it will be those extras that get these players drafted sooner, and Farabee definitely has those extras that set him apart from his peers.
When you look at his numbers, you can see clear growth from year to year. Two seasons ago, he played more of his time with the U17 team, but did play 22 games with the U18s despite being younger. In those 22 games, he produced 19 points, showcasing he has the talent. This year, playing almost all of his time with the U18s as captain, he took his game to the next level, going beyond a point per game and producing 76 points in 62 games, with 33 of those 76 points coming as goals. He was more of a distributor with 43 assists, but 33 goals in 62 games is no joke, over a half goal per game. That is first round production.
What this all means is that unlike some other players, Farabee’s laurels are not placed only on one breakout season. This gives him more to stand on. He has always had the talent, and was producing year after year. You could possibly say that he had only one truly amazing year, the 76 points in 62 games, but has was solid the year prior, and he was always over a point per game playing U16, so the talent and production are clearly there.
Also of positive note is that he has played very, very well on the international stage too. Among 14 games in the World Juniors over the last two seasons playing for Team USA in the U18s, he produced 14 points. Generating a point per game at the World Juniors is quite good, and can further cement the idea that his point totals in the USDP are not a fluke. He performs against the best competition. Again, another indicator that he might not be available at 17.
Where is Farabee Ranked?
Central Scouting has Joel as the 12th ranked North American skater entering the draft. This is one slot down from where he was at the midterm rankings. Of note is that his linemate, Oliver Wahlstrom, is ranked 7th in the CSS final rankings.
Given his first round grade, there are a lot of other rankings for him elsewhere as well, and all of them confirm his skill:
-Future Considerations has him as the 15th overall player.
-The Draft Analyst has him 9th overall.
-Sportsnet has him 11th.
-The Hockey Writers has him 15th overall.
-Draft Site has him projected to go 16th to Colorado.
-ISS has him 11th.
There are more, but as you can see, almost all of them have Farabee going as a lottery pick, generally between 9 and 16. Those are all before New Jersey picks at 17 of course, so odds of seeing him available are not the best, but not impossible either. 17 is not a far stretch from those rankings, and even the slightest slide down the draft board would put him in New Jersey’s lap.
What Others Have Said About Farabee
Almost all you see written about Joel is positive in nature. The Hockey Writers, in their April write up of him, said “we have a player who is one of the best skaters in the draft and uses that to create offense. He uses his speed to burn past defenders and then uses his pro shot in a variety of ways…his fearlessness and work ethic make him a load to handle in the offensive zone.” However, they also note “what sets Farabee apart is how effective he is defensively…he’s one of the best 200-foot players at the top of the draft.” So, you’re getting someone who has killer speed, a pro shot, and is an excellent two-way player with a strong work ethic. What is not to like?
The Last Word on Hockey says many similar things. Among others, he has “the agility and edge work to get by defenders in one-on-one situations…lightning quick acceleration…ability to change speeds to fool defenders and create space…good hands and stick skills while moving at top speed…good vision and is an outstanding playmaker…has been a key contributor to the USNTDP penalty killing units…provides effective back pressure.” Again, all amazing positive praise. The kid is quick, very skilled, and a hard worker. However, Last Word also has a couple areas of need, such as “he could stand to add some power to his shot…bit on the smallish side.” Overall, however, they say that “Farabee has the potential to be a top-six winger at the NHL level but needs some time.” Sounds appropriate for a mid-first rounder.
Steve Kournianos, the Draft Analyst, also has a write up. He has moved hard up Steve’s board, starting in the preseason being ranked 21st to his current ranking at 9th. Some quotes: “Cerebral three-zone playmaker who consistently adheres to textbook fundamentals…possesses a devastating change of pace that catches defenders flat footed…Farabee has a nonstop motor…balance is strong and he can endure a physical beating…owns a pro-quality shot.” It’s all positives from Steve here, who says he is one of the top forwards this year, “with star potential.”
Finally, among several more other profiles, DobberProspects continues the praise for this kid. In January, they wrote that he is “blessed with top level skating ability and a mind for creating offense…can also be trusted in his own zone…while Farabee lacks ideal size, his ability to use his edges to slash in and out of lanes keeps opposing teams on their heels and keeps him off the IR.” It seems that the only real negative that profilers have about Joel is his size. He is 6 foot even which is not bad at all, but coming in at only 164 pounds, he will certainly need to bulk up some. But of all things, that is perhaps the easiest to deal with, so I doubt that will deter many teams, if any.
A Little Video
You know you’re a top prospect when there are ample highlight videos out there, and Farabee has those. Here are a few of them from YouTube:
As Devils fans, we should be hoping and praying that someone like Farabee falls to NJ at 17. Do the Devils need another winger? Perhaps defense is the more pressing concern. However, I am strongly against drafting for need in the NHL, when it usually takes years for players to develop into consistent and dependable NHL regulars. Remember a few years ago when it seemed like the Devils were loaded on defensive prospects, and we all felt that they needed to only take forwards? Imagine if they had gone with Zach Werenski at that time instead of pushing for a forward and going with Pavel Zacha? Not that Zacha is a total bust already, he has room for growth and could be a productive player, but at this point he is no Werenski.
To that point, if Farabee falls to NJ at 17, they should 100% take him. In Joel, they will be getting a high character, high motor winger with some serious potential. He might not be NHL ready, but you’re almost never getting that in the mid-first round. He is committed to Boston University in the fall, and a couple of years in the NCAA will probably do him some good. Most importantly, it will be a couple of years where he can bulk up some, as that is important in the NCAA, playing against seniors several years older and more physically mature. And given his desire to improve and be a student of the game, he will be able to learn a bunch from the upper classmen and coaches up there in Boston. By the time he is ready to make the jump to the pros, he will be much more ready for a potential top 6 role. At that time, who knows, the Devils may be light on top 6 scoring, and he could fit right in beautifully. And let’s be honest, New Jersey can almost always use more scoring forwards on offense, and taking someone like Farabee should certainly help in that regard.
So once again, while the odds of him making it to 17 are not the best, if Farabee happens to slide slightly in the first round and does reach the Devils at 17, I really hope that Shero is calling out his name to be the next member of our favorite team.
Now that you have read up on him, what do you think about Joel Farabee? Do you agree with me that he should absolutely be taken if he is still available for NJ at 17? Or, do you think NJ should only be looking for defensemen in that spot? Or do you have someone else in mind you think will be there that NJ should also seriously consider? Please leave your comments below, and thanks for reading another prospect profile here at AATJ!