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Under Pressure: Jakub Voracek

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

NHLI via Getty Images

This post is part of Flyers Day on PHT...

There are only 10 NHLers who will make at least $10 million in actual salary in 2016-17, and Jakub Voracek will be one of them.

Yes, this coming season will mark the first year of Voracek’s eight-year, $66 million extension -- a deal he signed last summer, after putting up a career-high 81 points (22G, 59A) in 2014-15.

The chemistry Voracek displayed with Flyers captain Claude Giroux was a major factor in the long-term commitment by the Flyers.

“Obviously, they’ve been dynamite together and we expect them to continue on,” GM Ron Hextall said at the time. “So that was a big part of our emphasis. I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the league.”

But they weren’t quite as good in 2015-16. Giroux went from 73 points to 67, and Voracek’s production fell even further, from 81 points to 55, with just 11 goals.

To be fair, Voracek had stretches of productive hockey. After a very slow start, he averaged around a point per game through January and February, and there was one mini-stretch where he had 11 points in six games.

But then he went down with an injury that caused him to miss nearly a month. When he returned, he only scored two goals in 19 games, including the playoffs.

It’s worth noting that before Voracek scored 81 points in 2014-15, his previous career high was 62. So it’s possible the Flyers bought high on him. In fact, it’s likely the Flyers bought high on him.

But even if that was the case, he’s a talented player who’s capable of producing more than he did last season. Assuming he stays healthy, a reasonable target would be 70 points.