The Philadelphia Flyers‘ 2013-2014 lockout-shortened season contained few bright spots. The defense was plagued by injury, Ilya Bryzgalov performed below expectations once again, and the offense could not find consistency. As such, the Flyers finished 23-22-3, missing the playoffs. Despite their misfortunes, one player managed to establish a successful season: Jakub Voracek.
The 23-year-old right winger from Czechoslovakia was acquired by the Flyers in the June 2011 trade that sent Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Drafted seventh overall in the 2007 NHL draft, Voracek couldn’t find consistency with the Blue Jackets, perhaps due to the fact that the young franchise lacked a strong supporting cast.
In his first season with the Flyers in 2011-2012, Voracek played in 78 games, tallying 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points. He emerged as a dominant player last season, registering 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in 48 games.
In comparison, Voracek scored the most points of his career in the 2009-2010 as a member of the Blue Jackets, notching 50 points in 81 games. Last season, he played 23 less games, and scored just four fewer points. He led the Flyers in goals, trumping Claude Giroux, who registered just 13.
At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Voracek is a sizable winger with a speed and a quick shot. Playing alongside Giroux and Scott Hartnell on the first line, fans should continue to see Voracek raking in the goals. He showed no signs of slowing down last season, playing aggressively in every game and remaining injury-free, a blessing for the Flyers.
A successful Voracek equates to a successful Giroux, and the duo are sure to continue to improve with time. If both stars are playing at full capacity, opposing teams should be fearful of the Flyers’ first line.