Jakub Voracek is making Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren look like a very smart man. After being named as one of the National Hockey League’s “Three Stars of the Week”, number 93 has in-effect had his unexpected place among the team’s best offensive weapons publicly announced.
“Jake” had a good season last year, after being obtained as part of a package from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter. The right winger set a career-high with 18 goals and amassed a nice total of 49 points, which put him in a tie with Wayne Simmonds for fourth-place on the team in scoring.
The decision that was at-hand last summer involved the Flyers’ willingness to give Voracek a spot on the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Harnell. Included in the offers to other free agents, potential trades that were explored and other roster choices, was the realistic idea that this fourth-year veteran could step in 2012-13.
Voracek has thus far exceeded expectations as his team hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs and their left winger James van Riemsdyk on Monday. Yes, in addition to allowing Jaromir Jagr to bid adieu, Holmgren also agreed to deal “JVR” to the Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn.
Schenn’s acquisition became the best off-season bright spot by far. Brayden Schenn’s brother appears to be a true keeper, possessing the toughness and ice vision that all sharp blue liners need. He should remain part of the team’s top parings into the foreseeable future.
Linking each of these pieces back to Voracek, we can now see that Holmgren believed that he had enough forward line depth to make that trade with Toronto. It’s my guess that he didn’t expect this Czechoslovakian native to be averaging 1.10 points-per-game 20 games into this season. Then again, no one made that projection which is one reason why this great game is played.