For whatever reason, Jakub Voracek did not speak at clean-out day, so we didn't get his thoughts on the Flyers' disappointing 2020-21 season and the club's future next season.
Voracek is as honest and transparent as they get, which us reporters appreciate. The forthrightness helps us do our jobs and gives us compelling copy for stories.
While Voracek, a decade Flyer, went quietly into the offseason, his name is starting to pop up as a busy July picks up. The Kraken expansion draft on July 21 has Voracek's name near the forefront of discussion because there's a good chance the winger won't be protected from Seattle. We looked at the reasons why right here.
On Saturday in his 31 Thoughts column, always a must-read piece for hockey folks, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that, while the situation has been described as "not acrimonious," the Flyers and Voracek "have discussed that it might be time for a change, as well." Per Friedman's report, if Voracek is not taken by the Kraken, "Philly will look elsewhere. ... Both sides are also prepared for the possibility a trade won’t occur, so he stays put. But there will be a legit attempt to move him."
The above is not terribly surprising, but it's the first time there has been a report that the Flyers will try to move Voracek, who turns 32 years old in August. Voracek is under contract for the next three seasons at an annual $8.25 million cap hit. He's a productive player but getting older with term and a hefty cap hit in a flat-cap world. The Flyers have holes and in order to fill them, they'll need cap relief this season and seasons down the line.
The Flyers are in a spot where they should and will be open-minded to just about anything. But, as we noted and Friedman reported, the Flyers won't be disgruntled with a player like Voracek on their roster to open next season. He is valuable and impactful. In 2020-21, Voracek was tied for the team scoring lead with 43 points. In 2019-20, he had a team-best 44 assists and a career-best plus-14 rating.
But time has been ticking, it's a huge offseason and the fact is general manager Chuck Fletcher did not acquire or sign Voracek. Ties naturally weaken when a new regime takes over. They're not as strong as before, while Alain Vigneault is Voracek's fifth head coach with the Flyers and has challenged him to change his playoff narrative in Philadelphia.
The results of the July 21 expansion draft will be the offseason's starting point of what might change for Voracek or what might stay the same come September training camp: another run in Philadelphia.
The Jones trade front
In his 31 Thoughts, Friedman also reported the latest on the Flyers-Seth Jones trade talks.
Per Friedman's report, the "discussions appear off, for now. The Flyers can’t get the commitment they want from Jones. That’s his right, to wait unless he’s certain, but Philly won’t make the deal without it."
The caveat to a Jones trade is that the 26-year-old defenseman's contract expires after the 2021-22 season, which would set him up to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. Teams will be apprehensive to give up a haul to have Jones for only one season and then the potential of losing him on the market.
The offseason is very young, though, and sometimes it's about leverage early on. We'll see where it goes.
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