It appears that one of the longest-tenured Philadelphia Flyers may be on the way out the door, one way or another. That someone happens to be a player that has divided the fanbase for quite some time, winger Jakub Voracek.
Jake and the Flyers appear to agree that it would be best for both parties to go separate ways this offseason. According to Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC), Voracek has already been notified by the front office that he will most likely be left unprotected for the NHL Expansion Draft.
Jake was involved in the Jeff Carter trade in the wake of the disappointing 2010-2011 postseason. When you consider that Carter was the Flyers’ leading goal-scorer for the prior three seasons, there was a good amount of expectation for Voracek from the get-go and for good reason. He was an exciting young player with potential to improve his already good skillset.
Fast forward to the present and Voracek has completed 10 years and has played 727 regular season games in a Flyers uniform. If you needed a reason to feel old today, we got you covered. I think the thing that frustrates fans the most is that there have been flashes of how good he really is, but there was never that consistency.
He is not an easy player to deal with when he gets his legs moving and comes into the offensive zone with speed. It is also interesting to think about his goal-scoring numbers, he had six seasons of 20+ goals which may surprise some people. Once again though, he had the ability to score more, and we knew it.
This is more of a salary cap problem than just trying to move a player, although that seems to be a part of the situation. If Jake was making somewhere in the range of $5-$6 million instead of 8, that would be an easier pill to swallow when you account for his production the past three seasons.
Voracek had 43 points in 53 games but was a -12 during the 2020-2021 season. When you consider that this past season was basically a train wreck, stats like the plus/minus do not seem as bad. In the exciting 2019-2020 season, I thought Voracek looked like a revamped player under Alain Vigneault. He was giving visible effort backchecking and sticking around longer in the defensive zone for support, he finished the season +14.
It is an interesting but not too surprising of a situation. This team may very well benefit from a shakeup of the roster/core. However, Voracek is well-respected and close with many on the team such as fellow tenured players Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier (Coots will need a new deal next year!). He still brings something of value to the table, no doubt.
As I mentioned a few days ago though, it will sting to lose Jake Voracek for nothing. If Jake is not somehow selected in the expansion draft, I am curious to see what market there is for him.
604 points in those 727 games, not too shabby when you are on the team that was the definition of mediocrity this previous decade. We will see what happens, Jake.