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Newest Flyers don't feel added pressure

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 4:29 PM / NHL Insider

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Newest Flyers don't feel added pressure
Newest Flyers Jackub Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds were introduced to the media on Tuesday and are not concerned about the big shoes to fill in Philly.
PHILADELPHIA -- Replacing two All-Stars on a team with Stanley Cup expectations could be a daunting task, but Jakub Voracek, one of the newest members of the Philadelphia Flyers, sees things a bit differently.
 
"I don't feel any extra pressure," Voracek, wearing his new orange No. 9 jersey, said Tuesday during his first press conference as a member of the Flyers. "It's still the same game -- a hockey puck and the boards."
 
Voracek, along with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, met the media at Wells Fargo Center, and said just because they were traded for big stars doesn't mean they need to change anything about their games.
 
The Flyers added Voracek from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a deal for Jeff Carter, while Schenn and Simmonds were part of the return from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade for Mike Richards.
 
"I'm just going to come in and play my game," said Simmonds, who was wearing No. 17 -- Carter's former number. "My game speaks for itself. I'm a rough and tumble winger, go up and down the wall, take pucks to the net. That's what I'm good at and that's what I'm going to stick to."
 
Simmonds had 14 goals and 16 assists in 80 games last season. Holmgren believes that with more ice time -- Simmonds averaged 13:27 per game last season -- he'll produce even more offense.
 
"We think Wayne has some real upside in terms of offensive production," Holmgren said. "So we look for some good things from Wayne."
 
Simmonds said he expects to be more of the player fans saw in 2009-10, when he had 16 goals, 40 points and a plus-22 rating.
"I think last year I had a down year," Simmonds said. "I feel like I can definitely reach that (second-season numbers) and beyond in this next year. I just want to get ready. I'm excited."
 
Voracek said he's also excited to get started. He had 14 goals and 32 assists in 80 games last season, and Holmgren said much like Simmonds, he believes there's more offense in Voracek.
 
"He just finished his third year in the Columbus organization, averaged 44 points in those three years, and we see tremendous upside with Jake," said Holmgren.
 
Voracek said the best part of coming to Philadelphia is getting a chance to return to the playoffs. He had just 1 assist in four games in the Blue Jackets' only postseason visit, in 2009.
 
"It's going to be awesome," Voracek said. "You get to battle for a Stanley Cup. That's the reason you play hockey, to win. It's going to be different than in Columbus. We were building something for three years, and now I'm here where basically everything is ready and everybody wants to win. It's going to be very exciting. I can't wait for the season to start."
 
Simmonds, who had 3 goals in 12 postseason games the last two seasons, said joining a team with Cup aspirations -- rather than just hoping to get into the postseason -- is a welcome change.
 
"This franchise is a storied franchise," he said. "There's not many years they haven't made the playoffs here and the majority of the time they go deep into it. You have to live up to those expectations and I'm definitely ready for them."
 
The most expectations, however, seems to have been placed on Schenn. Holmgren is one of the many people who believe the 19-year-old center is the best prospect not currently playing in the NHL. Now it's up to him to change his status to full-time player.
 
"I think it's going to be a good opportunity here," said Schenn. "It's a big summer for me. I'm going to come into camp and compete for a spot and just be ready. I think there will be some opportunity for me."
 
The departures of Richards and Carter leave the Flyers open down the middle. Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Blair Betts are on the roster, but Briere and Giroux have played the wing, and Betts will likely center the fourth line. That leaves at least one center spot open for Schenn to stake his claim to.
 
"We think a lot of Brayden as a young player," Holmgren said. "As with any player, you get to training camp and you see. The players more than anybody answer those questions. Brayden is going to play in the NHL, whether it's right at the start of this season, we'll see. That's what training camp is for. He'll be given every opportunity."
 
Schenn already has a few days circled on his calendar -- every Flyers game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he'll be able to go head-to-head with his brother, Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. The pair hasn't met on the ice since the 2007-08 season -- Luke's final junior season with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, and Brayden's first with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
 
"We played one game in Western league and they beat us 8-1," Schenn told NHL.com. "The game was over in the first period."
 
Times are a little bit different now, and Schenn is ready to resume the sibling rivalry.
 
"Me and Luke are looking forward to it," he said. "I haven't played him in three or four years now. I'm sure the first one will be a little weird. After that it should be good."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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