BUFFALO -- Left wing Joel Farabee of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program may not immediately stand out among those who could be impact players in the 2018 NHL Draft, but his compete level has helped him get noticed.
Farabee (5-foot-11, 164 pounds) doesn't have the prototypical standout size, but he earned an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list as a potential first-round pick.
"I think I have a really good ability to see the ice," Farabee, 17, said in September. "I can make plays through the neutral zone, I'm good in the [defensive] zone and create a lot of offense from that is something I do pretty well. And also being a two-way forward, I think my defensive game is pretty good along with my offensive ability, so that really helps."
Those who know Farabee aren't surprised by his ranking, and that he's a little under the radar.
"I get why people don't ask as much about him," NTDP coach Seth Appert said. "There are others more bigger and more traditional guys to be asked about. But there were only two call-up players last year on the [under-18 team] who helped us win the world championship and they were [forward Oliver] Wahlstrom and Farabee. I think that says a lot right there that [Farabee] was able to play his way up and play an integral part, and scores two goals in the gold medal game."
Farabee had six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games to help the United States win gold at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in April.
"Joel is a very good puck mover with outstanding vision," NHL Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "He shows creative puck plays consistently. He has a quick release and can snap the puck with pace. He's hard on pucks in all areas of the rink. He has a high hockey IQ with good offensive instincts. Joel is a leader on his team setting an example with hard work and team play in the games that I have seen."
Farabee, from Cicero, New York, took part in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo in September. He is committed to Boston University and plans to join the Terriers for the 2018-19 season. Getting to play at the Buffalo Sabres home rink, where former BU standout Jack Eichel now competes, was special for him.
"He's definitely a guy I look up to," Farabee said. "He's one of the best in the NHL right now and he's gone through the same exact process that I am. He's definitely someone to look up to and definitely someone I'd aspire to be like."
Appert compared Farabee to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel.
"Joel has a skill set that is very good, he can break you down 1-on-1, his skating is good," Appert said. "He can shoot the puck extremely well.
"The best thing about Joel is that he competes so hard, and he goes to the areas most people don't want to go to, and he scores tons of goals at the front of the net. He's talented enough to score nice goals, but he adds so many goals because of his willingness to go to the hard areas, and he's comfortable in those areas because he's legitimately tough."
Farabee is off to a good start this season with 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 12 games. He also had four points (three goals, assist) in two games in the United States Hockey League and is looking to take it to the next level, at the same time staying focused on the present.
"I'm not even really thinking about the draft, I'm just focusing on what I need to do," Farabee said. "I just try to focus on myself and what the team needs to do to win, and how I can get better each day.