The Philadelphia Flyers are riding high with a great win against the San Jose Sharks on opening night. Of course the Flyers fell to the Los Angeles Kings last night 2-0. However, Michal Neuvirth was phenomenal in the loss. You can’t win them all is the old saying in sports.
With the youth infusion injecting life into some veterans into the Flyers locker room. One can only hope that the orange and black have a rebound year. Moreover, one player that is more than focused on that is Jakub Voracek. At training camp, Voracek seemed ready and willing to achieve his past stardom, carrying a belief in himself and the infusion of youth around him.
Voracek hails from Kladno, Czechoslovakia, and was born on August 15, 1989. He was inspired to play the sport of hockey by watching his idol Jaromir Jagr razzle and dazzle opponents on a nightly basis, while Voracek was growing up. Voracek eventually found himself playing for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL in 2007-08. For the season, he registered 33 goals, and 63 assists for a total of 101 points. This really solidified his status for the NHL Draft. He gives a lot of credit to his idol for placing him on the map.
“Around my age everyone was looking up to him cause Jagr was the best player in the world. I think he was everyone’s idol. He was pretty easy to focus on. He is from my hometown. I played with him here, and played with him on the national team, as well. It’s always a good experience.”
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. One would think Voracek just wanted to have fun playing the sport, but he credits someone for his NHL success.
“My dad. He is great. You know just focus on hockey, and have fun with it. Very demanding parents go around destroying the kids, and they end up not playing hockey. My parents never had to push me…they teach me.
The former Moosehead product continued, “In the end they were very happy, and they had very healthy kids cause that’s what I am today being a hockey player.”
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. One would think Voracek trained differently for his success, and according to him he never sets any personal goals for the year.
“I don’t change how I train. I go back home to Czech Republic, and sometimes Montreal for 2 months. Goals…I don’t have goals, just make the playoffs. No goals.”
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.
This off-season was hard as his good friend Brayden Schenn was traded to the St. Louis Blues. However, he believes this season will be different in terms of success mainly in part of the youth infusion, but also the new faces that were added in the off-season.
“Of course it’s fresh air with the youth. Every new face in the locker room is fresh air. With the new face, new personalities come. We’re going to miss Schenner. We were very good friends. He’s a very good guy. It’s a business, it’s hockey. You got to take it and move on. It is what it is. Different year, just make the playoffs. It’s hard to find a bad guy.”
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. 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. He seems 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: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports