Philadelphia Flyers: Joel Farabee is the NHL’s scoring leader… for now

Joel Farabee and the Philadelphia Flyers are the best in the NHL… for now.

Nikita Kucherov. Leon Draisaitl. Joel Farabee.

What do these players have in common? Well, not a lot actually – they are from different countries, were drafted into different circumstances, and play for different teams -except for the fact that they’ve led the NHL in total points in the last three seasons.

Yeah, I imagine you didn’t have that prop bet on the books.

Now sure, is the sample size small? Duh, we are literally only one game into the 2020-21 season as per the time of writing, but that doesn’t change the fact that in a game where the Philadelphia Flyers torched their intrastate rival Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 6-3, Farabee was the high man in the game – and by extension, the NHL – with four points coming off a goal and three assists.

In a game where Kevin Hayes scored a pair of goals and Erik Gustafsson had the third-most points of any free agent defenseman acquisition in his Flyers debut, Farabee heard his name called more than any other player on either squad, which is impressive considering Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, and Evgeni Malkin were also in the game.

Sidebar: Did you see this goal by Crosby off of a Carter Hart assist? My goodness, that’s brutal.

Measuring in at 6-foot, 164-pounds, Farabee spent his first opening night in an NHL lineup on Alain Vigneault‘s second line, playing alongside Giroux and Hayes. In 14:12 total on-ice time, Farabee took a team-high four shots while playing a key role on the power play.

Was his debut outing of the 2021 NHL season perfect? Nope. Farabee was reluctant to shoot at times and didn’t exactly take the best ones when he let the puck fly, but it still has to be a massive ego booster to not only help your team eke out a win against its biggest rival but do so while trending on Twitter for his lack of Fantasy Hockey ownership.

Something tells me he won’t only be owned in six percent of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues after tonight.

Now granted, will those new Fantasy owners be particularly happy when Farabee starts coming off the bench with the third line when Vigneault starts skating out a top-six of Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, Oskar Lindblom, Kevin Hayes, and Travis Konecny? Probably. Even with Voracek playing mostly alongside JvR and Nolan Patrick, he still had more on-ice time at full strength and the power play, but that’s to be expected.

When you’re running a top-nine as deep as the Flyers, someone is going to be the odd man out, and someone else will surely rise to the occasion and deliver big when his team needs him most.

But for now, that doesn’t really matter; not to Philadelphia Flyers fans anyway. No, for tonight, the first night with regular-season hockey gracing televisions the world over in 2021, Joel Farabee can rest easy knowing that he is the NHL’s leading scorer… at least until a player in one of the four other games being played on opening night can surpass four points.