Well, that didn’t take long.
One day after general manager Paul Holmgren stated the Flyers were “moving on” after being unsuccessful with someone else’s restricted free agent, they re-signed one of their own.
Jake Voracek, 22, signed a four-year contract with the Flyers worth $17 million. The annual cap hit will be $4.25 million for the team.
"We are happy to have Jake under contract and look forward to him being a big part of our future," general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement.
Holmgren said Wednesday that it was “only a matter of time” before Voracek signed. If there were an Olympic event for quantifying intentionally vague timetables, Holmgren would be a gold medal favorite.
All kidding aside, the signing of Voracek was important for the Flyers. Having lost Jaromir Jagr to free agency in the offseason, it was important to have his Czech countryman sign a new deal to replace the legendary winger on the Flyers top line.
Voracek, who set a career high with 18 goals in his first season with the Flyers and missed matching his career best in points by just one tally (49 points), is expected to play big minutes skating with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.
“Obviously the season is long,” Voracek said. “I am very happy that the Flyers gave me an opportunity to play on a top line with [Claude Giroux] and [Scott Hartnell]. Like I said you never know what happens during the season. I just have to work hard and hopefully we are going to play great together. It is going to be up to [Peter Laviolette] what he is going to do with the lines. I am sure it is something good."
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The Flyers are hoping for something good from Voracek, who will be counted on to continue to improve from last season.
Voracek was always considered to be a top-tier prospect – which is why he was drafted with the seventh pick in the 2007 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Having missed just nine games in his four seasons in the NHL, Voracek has had three very consistent years. However the Flyers are expecting him to take the next step now that he’ll be playing with Giroux.
Part of that will mean Voracek will have to improve his shot – as he’ll be expected to better his 18-goal total.
“I always say my shot isn't bad,” he said. “I think I have a good shot and a heavy shot. My accuracy isn't as good as it could be and I miss the net a lot when I am shooting. If I can hit the net more often, I think more goals are going to go in and the more points are going to come in. We will see... I am working on it. I still have two months to work on it and we will see what happens.”
Voracek is working out again in Montreal, something he did last summer with positive results, so he’s back at it again.
All the while he’s been in touch with Jagr, who was his boyhood idol. Voracek said he was hoping Jagr would come back to Philadelphia, but understands why he picked Dallas. Voracek said that Jagr was a great influence on him in his young career.
“To be around him all year long and to watch what he does before the games, after games and during practice was something priceless,” Voracek said. “It is good where he is at right now. He obviously helped me a lot and to be around him, I thank him for that and wish him the best of luck."
Now that this move is complete, the Flyers are approximately $8.5 million below the salary cap, which leaves them a little more wiggle room to modify the roster, if necessary.