Instant analysis: Flyers trade Jake Voracek for Cam Atkinson

NHL: FEB 23 Blackhawks at Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 23: Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson #13 reacts to scoring a goal during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on February 23, 2021. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)

When it rains, it pours. As if the pair of moves this past week weren’t enough to keep Flyers fans on their toes, Chuck Fletcher has gone out of his way during the NHL Draft to trade for veteran Cam Atkinson. Here’s all you need to know.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that the Flyers would be looking to move on from Voracek, who has spent ten years in the City of Brotherly Love. The first outlet was the NHL Expansion Draft, and with the Kraken opting to take Carson Twarynski instead, Fletcher wasted little time in finding a suitor for Voracek and ensuring a pretty impressive return in the process.

The trade is a straight-up switch for Jake Voracek. The two are the same age, but Voracek’s cap-hit is $8.25M, while Atkinson’s sits at $5.87M, netting the team a saving of around $2.38M. Atkinson is entering year four of a seven-year deal.

At this stage in his career, Atkinson looks to provide more offensive production than Voracek. His 15 goals and 34 points were second on the Blue Jackets last year, while he led the team in shorthanded goals, also ranking second among all NHL players. Since 2013, Atkinson has actually led the Blue Jackets in both goals and points. The winger was drafted by the team back in 2008.

After yesterday’s trade caused quite an intense debate among Flyers fans, it’s safe to say that the consensus opinion on this move will be a lot more positive. The Flyers needed to desperately free up cap space this offseason and the writing had been on the wall for Voracek’s departure for a couple of weeks, making this move somewhat easier to stomach.

Saying goodbye to Voracek is obviously going to be tough for many. He’s been one of the few Flyers to stand the test of time and become a pillar of the team over the past decade. This move serves as a change of pace where they replace him with a player of equal value, who may arguably have more upside from a production standpoint, and of course saves them some money in the process.

The Flyers not only save some money against the cap, but bring in a veteran replacement who can add a direct injection of production to the power-play, an area where the team lacked last year, garnering a PP% of just 19.16%. It’s one of the strongest moves Fletcher has made since arriving in Philadelphia.

With the NHL Draft raging on as we speak, it might not be time to buckle up. Fletcher might not be done just yet…

Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire