On Thursday the Philadelphia Flyers signed Jakub Voracek to an 8 year, $66 million contract, an average annual value of $8.25 million. The contract will come into effect for the 2016-17 season. The 25 year old winger is about to enter his last year of a 4 year, $17 million contract.
At 6’2 and 214 pounds, Voracek has developed into an elite winger in the NHL. The Czech talent was drafted 7th overall in 2007 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was traded to the Flyers on June 23, 2011, in a deal that sent Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets.
In his four seasons with Philadelphia, Voracek has steadily improved his game as he’s matured and gotten experience in the NHL. In the 2014-15 season, Voracek had a break-out season with 22 goals, 59 assists, and 81 points. He finished 4th in the scoring race and was behind only Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals for the league lead in assists. Voracek was voted onto the NHL First All-Star team, a career first.
The Philadelphia Flyers are looking at the future with this contract. Fellow teammate and all-star Claude Giroux received a nearly identical 8 year, $66.2 million contract in 2013. Philadelphia will be looking at getting a deeper forward group to help support Voracek and Giroux. Wayne Simmonds is turning into a consistent scorer with 29 and 28 goals scored in the past two seasons, respectively. Vincent Lecavalier has been a huge upset for the Flyers with a steady decline in production after signing a 5 year, $22.5 million contract in 2013. Lecavalier hit a career low with 8 goals and 20 points in 57 games in the 2014-15 season, and was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
If the Flyers can continue to get solid goaltending from Steve Mason, and acquire a better supporting cast (hopefully by losing the awful Lecavalier contract) then they can get back into playoff form after a shaky past three years where they missed 2 of 3 playoffs. Voracek and Giroux are an excellent foundation for a team that is looking to return to form.