Blue Jackets’ Voracek Feels Wanted & Valued in Columbus

The trade caught a lot of people off guard. Two long-time members of their respective teams in Cam Atkinson and Jakub Voracek were moved in the hopes that each team got better.

At least from a Blue Jackets’ perspective, Voracek has met and exceeded every expectation to this point. He’s one of the reasons why the team is off to a historic 7-3-0 start.

Voracek has come in and done exactly what the team hoped he would. He’s the playmaker they’ve been lacking. He’s averaging one assist per game (10 assists in 10 games.) We recently wrote about how Voracek for Atkinson has benefited both sides. That continues to remain true.

Related: Atkinson for Voracek Benefiting Both Flyers & Blue Jackets

However Voracek’s acquisition goes beyond what he’s doing on the ice. His impact can be felt off the ice too. After a couple of seasons in Philadelphia where things didn’t go the way they hoped it would, he gets a fresh start in a place where he is wanted and valued. The Blue Jackets wanted him and have made him feel right at home.

Trade Was Best Thing for Voracek

In a recent interview with Jody Shelley, Voracek opened up about the trade to the Blue Jackets. He admitted that it was his sister who was one of the first people that told him about the trade. She has some encouraging words for him in regards to the new opportunity with the Blue Jackets.

“This is going to be the best thing for you that happens,” Voracek’s sister told him. “They want you. They want you to be there. They want you to play. They want you to put that weight on your shoulders which wasn’t happening in Philly for the last three years. I felt like I had more to give, always more to give. I never had that opportunity in my opinion. I’m really happy that this happened and I can actually some kind of way show what I’m capable of.”

Not only was the trade good for Voracek, it was good for the Blue Jackets too. In a recent episode of “Behind the Battle”, GM Jarmo Kekalainen was seen discussing with his staff the possibility of this trade. He was heard saying “I think it changes the whole complexion of our team. Bigger player. He can pass.” If that doesn’t show how much they valued Voracek, I’m not sure what will. They were willing to make this deal despite giving up a Blue Jackets’ lifer in Atkinson.

Voracek now gets an opportunity to show what he can still do even at age 32. And in the process, he’s making a big impact on the young players on the Blue Jackets.

Voracek the Leader

He might not have a letter on his sweater, but Voracek comes in with a wealth of knowledge from all his years with the Flyers. He’s making an impact especially to some of the younger players on the team including Cole Sillinger, the youngest player in the NHL.

Voracek and Sillinger are currently linemates after coach Brad Larsen had to make some adjustments to the lineup thanks to injury and performance. Sillinger couldn’t be happier with the impact Voracek has had on him so far.

“Even for the third period when I played there (on Voracek’s line), I learned so much from him in such short time,” Sillinger said. “He’s always talking on the bench. He’s always finding ways to expose the other team and creating little plays that he thinks that will work out there. Me and Chinakhov can bring speed to the table. (Voracek is) a great passer, has speed, tracks the puck very well and likes to have the puck on his stick. I think us three are going to work well together.”

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Even though Sillinger and Chinakhov are just 18 and 20 respectively, Voracek still expects them to be at the top of their game when they play together. But it’s Voracek’s approach and leading by example that are helping the youngsters get acclimated with his style.

“He expects Chinakhov and I to be at the top of our game every shift we’re playing with him,” Sillinger said. “That’s something we gotta give him. If you watch him (Voracek), he brings his best every shift and we just gotta match that. He likes to have the puck on his stick and likes to make plays. That’s what we’re going to have to match as well.”

Jakub Voracek Columbus Blue Jackets
Jakub Voracek is having a major impact both on and off the ice for the Blue Jackets. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Larsen is also appreciative of everything that Voracek is bringing on and off the ice. Larsen took note of the energy he seems to be bringing to that line with Chinakhov and Sillinger. They helped create the winning goal on Saturday.

“I said to Jake, looks like he had the legs of a 20-year old tonight,” Larsen said. “He’s flying. He said something else but I won’t share that. I thought he helped drive that line. Chinny was playing well and Silly was just kind of being himself playing a solid game. I felt like they got better and better and better as the game went.”

“You could feel it. You could feel the chatter on the bench with that line. Jake was feeling it. He was standing up half the time. I had to tell him to sit down a few times just because you can tell he wants to get out there and he’s feeling good. They were clicking tonight. I felt like they were generating a lot. It’s a good first night for that line.”

In Conclusion

Many folks believed the Blue Jackets were going to have a rough season. Voracek’s presence does give them a different feel overall about what they could accomplish this season. It’s early, but the returns are all positive.

Voracek is feeling good, in a place where he’s wanted and valued, and it’s showing with his performances. He’s motivated and eager to prove the Flyers made a mistake in trading him and not giving him that opportunity to do more there.

It’s showing in the standings. It’s resonating within the locker room with players, coaches and management. Voracek’s overall impact is providing huge benefits to the Blue Jackets. Both sides couldn’t be happier they were able to complete this trade.