By Charlie O’Connor (@THG_Charlie)
With the departure of Jaromir Jagr in free agency and the trade of James van Riemsdyk, the restricted free agent status of Jakub Voracek placed the Flyers’ forward corps in question.
But concerns regarding Voracek were quelled this morning, as the Philadelphia Flyers locked up the 23-year old winger to a four year, $17 million contract.
Voracek, who scored 18 goals and 31 assists in 78 games duringhis first season as a Flyer, was acquired along with a 2011 1st round pick (Sean Couturier) and 3rd round pick (Nick Cousins) in the trade that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus. He had signed a one year, $2.25 million contract with Philadelphia last summer as a restricted free agent.
This contract spans Voracek’s three remaining years of restricted free agency, and his first year of unrestricted free agency availability.
Drafted 7th overall by Columbus in 2007, Voracek’s raw offensive numbers have stagnated since his sophomore year, as he has posted point totals of 50, 46, and 49 in respective seasons. However, Voracek’s rate statistics in 2011-12 suggested an underlying statistical improvement, as Voracek averaged 2.41 points per 60 minutes of even strength ice time, second only to Claude Giroux among Flyers forwards.
In addition, Voracek had a stellar postseason, scoring ten points in 11 playoff games, including a dramatic overtime winner in Game 1 of the Flyers’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Expectations are high for Voracek in 2012-13, as he is widely believed to be the frontrunner to replace Jagr at the top right wing on the depth chart, spending most of his even strength ice time on the top line with Giroux and Scott Hartnell.