Weight: 214 lbs.
Cap Hit: $4.25 M
22 G, 24 A, 46 Pts
Voracek, who turned 24 in August, was tasked with replacing Jaromir Jagr on the top line with Claude Giroux – not an easy assignment by any stretch of the imagination. The Czech took the role with honor, having grown up in the same town as Jagr, and outperformed even the most optimistic expectations.
Voracek scored a career-high 22 times and dished out 24 assists for a staggering 46 points in 48 games. In a full 82 game slate, those totals would have been 38 goals, 41 assists, 79 point season had he kept the same pace.
The 24 year old was coming off a summer in which he received a four-year, $17 million deal carrying a cap hit of $4.25 million that some people believed was far too high for his career production to that point. Well, Voracek certainly outplayed the deal last year and, if he can maintain the 2013 kind of production, $4.25 million per year would be a steal.
Now the question arises about whether Voracek can repeat his fabulous season. At first glance, you might say why not? He is only 24. He is paired with one of the best players in the world in Claude Giroux. He has proved that he can play at a high level for an extended period of time.
But (there’s always a ‘but,’ isn’t there?) he might not experience the same bounces for lack of a better term. We all remember the goal on February 20th against Pittsburgh that he bounced off of Marc-Andre Fleury’s back and into the net – kind of a fluke, no? It would be ignorant to pretend like those goals don’t happen to everybody from time to time – they do, but still.
However the case with Voracek is interesting as he saw a major uptick in his shooting percentage last year (17.1%) versus his career average (10.4%). The career average might be on the rise but shooting at a 17% clip might also be hard to repeat. Scott Hartnell might not be the best example but he saw a meteoric rise in his shooting percentage his first season with Claude Giroux but last year dropped off (yes, there were injuries and other things which makes the example flawed but it is still in the back of my mind and should be in the back of yours, too).
There is also the possibility that teams saw why Paul Holmgren was so high on Voracek when he acquired him from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Jeff Carter trade. If Voracek begins to prove that last season was no fluke, he could become one of the focal points of an opponent’s defensive strategy – just as Claude Giroux was last season.
Voracek has the size (6’2”, 214 lbs.), ability (22 goals/46 points in 48 games), and support (c’mon, he plays with Claude Giroux!) to be an impact player in the NHL, if he can replicate his fantastic lockout-shortened season the Flyers could have a steal on their hands for the next three seasons.
Keep a close eye on No. 93 early on this season, most other teams will.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports