During frustrating times, such as October for the Flyers, it is natural to appoint scapegoats. As the opening month of the season moved along, Philadelphia struggled to live up to expectations. Naturally, fans searched for someone to blame. Luckily, Jakub Voracek provided a solid option.
In his ninth year with the Flyers, Voracek struggled to produce much of anything in the first few games of the season. His first four games resulted in absolutely nothing on the scoresheet. Finally, against the Edmonton Oilers, Voracek posted his first points of the year, recording two goals and one assist. However, his production remained inconsistent, causing unsettled feelings from both the coaching staff and fans alike.
Slow starts and periods of inconsistency are just the nature of the beast in professional sports. They happen to a lot of players. Unfortunately, when you are responsible for an $8.25 million annual cap hit, people become less forgiving of bumps in the road.
In the case of Jakub Voracek simply wasn’t cutting it. When a team is struggling, they need to be able to lean on veterans to get them out of a rut. Although he was not alone, Voracek was a major part of the problem, not the solution.
As is the case almost every time a high-priced “star” isn’t earning his keep, cries to trade the 30-year-old winger started to ring loudly throughout the Flyers fanbase. Unfortunately, the reality of dealing a struggling veteran with a lot of money and term during the season is slim-to-none. So all Philadelphia could truly hope for was a turn around in Voracek’s game.
Luckily, it appears as though that turn around is taking place. Through his last five games, Voracek has posted seven points (2G & 5A). It’s not a coincidence that the team, as a whole, is performing better as a result. The Flyers are on a four-game winning streak and just capped off a historic month of November, obtaining 24 points.
Voracek ranks third on the Flyers in points with 20. He is also one of the team’s best set-up guys with 14 assists. In terms of scoring, his six goals through 27 games still leave people wanting more. However, Voracek is never going to be the goal-scorer Flyers fans want him to be. Throughout his 12-year career, Voracek has surpassed the 20-goal mark six times but has never tallied more than 23 goals in a season. He will always obtain most of his points through assists and needs to be placed with goal-scoring linemates.
Whether Jakub Voracek will keep up this level of play remains to be seen. He is certainly capable of being one of the best players on the ice but has had his fair share of ups and downs. Still, for now, it is only right to remove Voracek from the dog house and hope for the best.
Mandatory Credit: Alex McIntyre
John Gove covers prospects within the Philadelphia Flyers farm system for Philly Sports Network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnPGove.