It’s a feel good story for the Philadelphia Flyers this season. The youth infusion has inspired many vets to perform, and it also has given them a breath of fresh air. Moreover, the patient Flyers organization will start to see some long-term benefit from the youth, as one by one some will be plucked up from the farm system.
One player that had a chip on his shoulder last season is Jakub Voracek. He will tell you he had to be better this season. Well, Voracek has been nothing short of phenomenal. The “Ginger Line,” of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Voracek, has been the most consistent line for the orange and black this season. Voracek deserves a lot of credit for his bounce back feel good season, thus far.
Voracek hails from Kladno, Czechoslovakia, and was born on August 15, 1989. Like most kids, he was inspired to play the sport of hockey by watching his idol Jaromir Jagr play on a nightly basis. Voracek eventually found himself playing for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL in 2006-07. For the season, he registered 23 goals, and 63 assists for a total of 86 points in 59 games played. This really solidified his status for the NHL Draft, as he was drafted seventh overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007.
The former Moosehead product, Voracek came to the Flyers via trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. In his Flyers debut against the Boston Bruins, Voracek gave us a glimpse of what he could possibly be. Voracek scored a goal in the first period against a solid netminder in Tim Thomas. For the 2011-12 season, he registered career highs with 18 goals, and 31 assists for a total of 49 points in 78 games played. Moreover, for his efforts he received a four-year contract worth $17 million to stay with the Flyers.
In the 2013-14 season, Voracek showcased his skills once again with 62 points. He produced 23 goals for his second straight 20 goal season. Moreover, in the 2014-15 season Voracek produced a stellar season with 81 points in 82 games played. For the season, he tallied 22 goals, and 59 assists en route to his third consecutive 20 goal season. A season that also saw Voracek score the second fastest overtime goal in Flyers history on December 22, 2014. Voracek’s hard-work and dedication paid off in a big way, as he signed an eight-year $66 million extension in July of 2015. The Flyers believed that this was just the beginning of a budding star in Voracek.
Of course with the highs there are some lows for Voracek. After his career year in the 2014-15 season, his numbers have since dipped. For instance, Voracek only produced 11 goals, and 44 assists for a total of 55 points in the 2015-16 season. Yes, it’s ok to have a bad year. However, Voracek followed that up with 20 goals, and 41 assists for a total of 61 points in 2016-17. Knowing he needed to improve in the off-season, Voracek wanted to prove his doubters wrong.
This season Voracek seems like a different player. His confidence bleeds to the “Ginger Line,” and for his efforts he has produced a whopping 4 goals, 17 assists, and is a +7 on the year. Voracek is currently tied for seventh in the league scoring with 21 points. Moreover, the “Ginger Line,” has a combined total of 60 points (Good for second in the league), and is an insane +28. These are crazy numbers from a line that Flyers fans haven’t been accustomed to, since the, “Legion of Doom,” days. Voracek had this to say following the game against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Thursday.
“I have played with Coots before last year for forty games, and I have played with G for a long time before. So, we understand each other and kind of fill up the lanes and we swing away. That is what we are doing. We try to keep the puck in the offensive zone. We try to get a cycle going and that is why we play the way we do.”
A talkative Voracek continued, as he praises Giroux, “He plays like a guy who has been in the league for ten years. He was a Hart trophy nominee. I don’t think it was about his confidence, but about his health. Obviously when he is healthy he can play. He has a little bit more room on the left wing then he did at the center. He is more free to make good plays. If me and G screw up with the pass we know we have Coots in the back there who is kind of the safety so that helps.”
The ceiling is high for Voracek. He is a great compliment to Claude Giroux, and Sean Couturier. We have all seen when Voracek is on his game it’s very hard to take the puck away from him. Moreover, he seems driven and mentally ready to take this young Flyers team to the playoffs this season. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports