In about two weeks the Philadelphia Flyers will begin to hit the ice at training camp. Some players are thrilled to begin the season, as their singing Michael Jackson’s hit song Thriller, “Cause this is thriller, Thriller at night, There ain’t no second chance.” This is the most anticipated hockey season since one can remember in Philadelphia. The proud orange clad fans of the Flyers are pumped and thrilled for the youth infusion, and for good reason as some will make the big club in the fall. Will all these young prospects work out, maybe not but some will.
There are many players on the current Flyers roster that have a lot to prove this coming season. If these players do not improve from prior years, then the end result might be a young prospect taking their spot on the roster in the near future. In this week’s Part 5 segment, let’s look at Forward Jakub Voracek.
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.
The Flyers signed Voracek to a lucrative deal to fill the void left behind, after Jaromir Jagr departed via free agency. Voracek had a good season setting another career high in goals with 22 in a lock-out shortened season. For the season, he registered 46 points in 48 games played after coming back from the KHL during the shortened season. The time away from the NHL may have helped the young Voracek as he looked more mature and mentally fit.
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. He is just not living up to the contract he signed in 2014-15. If Voracek wants to remain on the top line, then he has to produce like we all know he can.
The ceiling is very high for Voracek. We have all seen when he is on his game it’s very hard to take the puck away from him. Voracek is a speedy winger, and a great compliment to Claude Giroux. However, he just has to become more consistent. As previously stated, Voracek will tell you he has to be better. Part of being a better player is consistency. He might just be putting too much pressure on himself after signing such a lucrative contract in 2015. Whatever the reason may be, the Flyers need Voracek to produce like we all know he can do. The Flyers engine is the top line, and if that top line is not producing then it won’t look good for them this season. With that being said, Voracek does have the will to get back to the form he was two years ago.
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports