Flyers

Voracek's 10-year run with Flyers ends as veteran winger is traded

Flyers

Chuck Fletcher on Saturday made his fourth trade in a span of eight days.

And it was big.

The deal sent Jakub Voracek, who was one of the longest-tenured Flyers on the roster, to the Blue Jackets in exchange for winger Cam Atkinson.

Voracek spent the last 10 seasons with the Flyers. The playmaking winger turns 32 years old in August and is under contract for the next three seasons at an annual $8.25 million cap hit.

Voracek's fate in Philadelphia had become ominous around the expansion draft as the Flyers have put a focus on gaining cap flexibility in this busy July and filling holes from a letdown 2020-21 season.

Since last Saturday, Fletcher has reshaped the Flyers by acquiring Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Atkinson, while parting ways with Voracek, Philippe Myers, Nolan Patrick, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg and four draft picks.

Voracek heads back to Columbus, which drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2007. The Flyers acquired Voracek from the Blue Jackets in the 2011 Jeff Carter deal.

The refreshingly honest Voracek became a decade Flyer, finishing with 604 points over 727 games in Philadelphia. His 427 assists rank fifth all-time in franchise history, while his totals in points and games each rank 10th. Voracek built a track record of seldom missing games and consistently creating offense.

During his Flyers career, only seven NHL players had more assists than Voracek, one of them being his longtime teammate Claude Giroux, who is second over that span with 485. However, the Flyers won only two playoff series in those 10 seasons.

 

Giroux is currently the longest-tenured active athlete in Philadelphia. Sean Couturier and Voracek shared their first season with the Flyers together in 2011-12, when Couturier was a 19-year-old rookie.

"When you're somewhere for 10 years, you imagine yourself, your teammates, especially with G and Coots, to win," Voracek said Saturday in a Zoom interview coordinated by the Blue Jackets. "We didn't do it. ... Ten years is a long time.

"It's a business, I know how it works. There are no hard feelings between me and Chuck Fletcher. I have a lot of friends and a lot of memories from Philly. ... A bittersweet moment."

Atkinson, 32, has four more years left on his deal with an annual cap hit of $5.875 million. All 10 of his NHL seasons have come in Columbus and he scored a career-high 41 goals during 2018-19. Over the last two seasons, he put up 60 points (27 goals, 33 assists) in 100 games.

Per CapFriendly.com, Atkinson has a modified no-trade clause in his contract. Although he did not ask for a trade, the Flyers were one of the clubs he could be moved to and on Saturday he expressed excitement about his new home.

"I think that this couldn't have worked out any better, especially to Philly," Atkinson said. "Just hearing everyone, all my best buddies who have played there and a guy like Scotty Hartnell rants and rave about the fans, the facilities, all the guys and the way of life, especially as a family. I have two young boys. You can see what they're trying to become as an organization and as a team, making some trades and bringing in some really good players. At the end of the day, we want to win a Stanley Cup. I think Chuck Fletcher and the management crew are doing a really good job at putting all the pieces in place to do that."

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