As the 2021 Philadelphia Flyers season starts to wind down, all eyes are turning to what the offseason will hold for this directionless team. The Seattle expansion draft is finally on the horizon and theories of which player will be fed to the Kraken are flying. One of the more intriguing options the Flyers face is doing whatever the they have to do to ditch one of their expensive veteran players. We’ve taked about JVR in the past, but today, let’s focus on Jake Voracek heading to Seattle.
There is an interesting juxtaposition when it comes to Jake Voracek. He will turn 32 in August and has three years left on a contract that pays him $8.25 million a season. Yet through all that, he led the Flyers in scoring with 43 points in 53 games and has been top three in scoring for the last six seasons overall. He’s got 366 points in 435 games during that stretch and when he’s on he is still an incredibly effective player. This issue is, you don’t always get the best side of Voracek on a night-to-night basis.
Money– This is hands down the biggest plus to sending Voracek to Seattle. Clearing his $8.25 million cap hit will go a long way to creating enough monetary wiggle room to get creative for other moves during the offseason, and with three more seasons on his deal, it will also help when it comes to re-signing Sean Couturier next summer as well.
Attitude- Jake Voracek calling Mike Sielski a weasel may be awesome at face value (mainly because it is), but that could be a moment where we get a feel of what goes on behind the curtain when it comes to Jake Voracek’s mindset. It’s no secret he has most of Flyers Twitter blocked for criticizing his play. Obviously, none of us are in the locker room, but with that kind of holier-than-thou attitude in plain sight, there could be more going on that could cause friction behind closed doors.
Change of the guard– After playing in Philadelphia for the last decade, Voracek is one of the pillars of the franchise. The 31-year-old has ridden shotgun with Claude Giroux and they have been the faces of the current state of the team. Dealing Voracek is the first step in a long-overdue overhaul in making significant changes to the image of the organization. Letting the younger kids like Travis Konency, Joel Farabee and Wade Allison step up and take the reins of the team is the first step in finally getting past this stale era of Flyers hockey.
Asking price- The biggest and most obvious question mark when it comes to striking a deal with Seattle is “what would they ask to eat that kind of money?” Not only is it a valid question, there is no real answer yet. We’ll get a sense of the market as we draw closer to the actual draft, but until then, all we can say it will probably be a decent price. Every team will be looking to ditch that one bad contract they have on the books, and given the salary cap will be staying flat for the foreseeable future, it will be crucial for some teams to ditch unwanted salary, and Kraken GM Ron Francis will no doubt use it to his advantage, leveraging picks and prospects for taking on big contracts.
Offense– While he may not be the cleanest, slickest offensive player on a nightly basis, the point production speaks for itself. 427 points in 725 games in Philadelphia is nothing to sneeze at and, until one of the younger kids on the roster can step up and carry the torch from him, losing his production with no immediate replacement won’t help when it comes to aiming for a playoff spot next season.
The idea of moving on from Voracek signifies the end of an era in Philly, for better or worse. Do the Flyers have someone who could fill Voracek’s production right away? Probably not, but with three other right wingers knocking at the door in Konecny, Allison and Farabee, there’s a chance at least one will pan out and if not, the trio collectively should give the team more flexibility on the wings and succeed by committee. If Fletcher wants real change this offseason, Voracek is the place to start, now all we can do is sit back and wait to see if Chucky’s feeling lucky and sits down to wheel and deal at the expansion draft on July 21.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: thescore.com