Jakub Voracek has been locked up by the Philadelphia Flyers for eight years at $66 million. For those doing math at home that’s about $8.25 million per-year which kicks in for the 2016-17 season.
That’s a hefty raise for the forward, whose prior contract carried a $4.25 million salary cap hit. It runs out after this season. Voracek, 25, was set to hit the unrestricted free agent market next summer, which seems to be dwindling at an alarming rate with Voracek joining Ryan Kesler as marquee names who have signed long-term contracts.
Kings forward Anze Kopitar is expected to re-sign with Los Angeles before the start of the season. This puts Voracek in Corey Perry ($8.65 million salary cap hit) and Phil Kessel ($8 million cap hit) territory.
Is he worth that amount? Broad Street Hockey indicates Voracek has been as prolific as any winger during that span.
While many have called 2014-15 a breakout year for Voracek, the reality is that he's been an elite player for a while now. Since the 2012-13 lockout ended, there have been exactly zero wingers in the NHL with more assists than Voracek, and only two wingers with more total points. In that same time (arbitrary endpoint warning), just six wingers have scored at a .95 point-per-game pace in multiple seasons -- and Voracek is one of them. And his possession numbers are routinely outstanding, and have only improved with each passing season.
He notched 81 points in 82 games last season to finish fifth in the NHL in scoring. Per the NHL’s enhanced stats site, his shot attempts differential was at plus-157 – tops amongst Flyers forwards meaning his team was possessing the puck more, firing more shots on net than the opposition, when he was on the ice. His shot attempts relative percentage was a plus-6.2 according to the NHL's enhanced stats site, meaning when he was on the ice, the Flyers were possessing the puck more than when he was not on the ice.
Hockey is full of dynamic duos and the Flyers now have Voracek locked up essentially through the next nine years, and Claude Giroux under contract through 2022.
But as TSN’s Frank Seravalli notes, about that pesky salary cap situation where Philly has $61 million committed to 15 players for 2016-17. Hmm, wouldn’t say that’s great planning by the Flyers. But that’s a problem for next offseason.
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