The Flyers are hoping to become a consistent hockey team once again this season. One way to do that is with the youth infusion. This has inspired some Vets to perform, especially Jakub Voracek. “If you don’t perform well, you can get sent down to Juniors, with a young guy coming to take your spot,” Voracek said, “Maybe get your minutes reduced. You have to stay on your toes. It’s a breath of fresh air.” The once impatient Flyers organization, is the now patient Flyers organization. They will start to see some long-term benefits from the youth this season, 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 Voracek. He will tell you he had to be better, that’s just who he is. Voracek has been humorous, fun, and well, he’s looked refreshed since Training Camp has begun. Maybe it has something to do with new Head Coach Alain Vigneault, “We come before practice doing film and all,” Voracek said, “Obviously he’s getting used to it. He’s getting used to us, and we are getting used to him. It is a tough day at work for an hour and a half.”
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. After his career year, Voracek was rewarded with 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 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.
Voracek seemed like a different player in 2017-18. His confidence was back, as he was a force on the “Ginger Line,” that also consisted of Claude Giroux, and Sean Couturier. For his efforts, he produced a whopping 20 goals, and registered 65 assists in 82 games played. These were crazy numbers from a line that Flyers fans weren’t accustomed to seeing since the, “Legion of Doom” days.
Fast forward to 2018-19, Voracek was disappointed the Flyers missed the playoffs. He never once blamed his teammates, rather he just wanted to move on, to try and put the season behind him. He did register 20 goals, and 46 assists for his efforts. However, one player in particular that he tried moving on from not only in the offseason, but throughout Training Camp thus far was one of his good friends in Wayne Simmonds.
“In a situation like we are as hockey players, you have to move on. We can’t sit here 5 or 6 months later because someone got traded. I have to worry about my teammates, and myself. Simmer got traded, he’s my good friend. I’m not the first player to lose a friend in a trade.”
A talkative Voracek continued, “Are you checking me out (Laughing),” when referencing his weight from last season, “Actually I’m a little heavier this year (Laughing and Winking).”
Voracek is happy to play in Prague this coming season, and as one can believe so is his family, “Of course, they are excited. Here we are playing Prague after 11 NHL seasons. I’m happy my grandma can finally go to the game. It will be a lot of fun. The boys are excited too, do a little team building.”
The ceiling is high for Voracek. He is a great compliment to JVR, and Kevin Hayes as we witnessed in the first pre-season game. 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 back to the playoffs this season this season, “Hayes can shut people down. He’s a great player, a good two-way Center. We have a good supporting cast, now it’s just up to us to start the season in a positive way.” “And to answer your question, I blocked you on twitter cause you said something stupid (Laughing and Winking).”