Over the offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers signed wing Jakub Voracek to a lengthy and expensive contract extension. When terms were finally released, Voracek’s contract was a massive $66 million contract over eight seasons that carried an annual cap hit of $8.25 million.
Since signing the extension, Voracek has looked like a shell of himself. He might be the Flyers second leading scorer with 19 points in 31 games, but only two of those points are goals. To make matters worse Voracek’s two goals were both tip-in goals against the Carolina Hurricanes, who might be the worst team in the Metropolitan Division.
His current scoring pace puts him on track for five goals this season and 44 assists. While it’s a large number of assists, that’s not why the Flyers gave him a contract with an annual cap hit of over eight million. Voracek was coming off three consecutive 20 goal seasons when he signed the contract and had just challenged Jamie Benn for the scoring trophy.
Fast forward to the 2015-16 season and Voracek is technically converting 2.2% of his shots to goals, but as previously mentioned he did not shoot the two goals he scored. If you look at it that way he’s converted 0% of his 90 shots into goals.
Voracek is shooting the puck 2.9 times per game, which is higher than last season when he shot 2.7 times per game. Yet despite the increased shot totals, Voracek has yet to find the back of the net by himself.
When asked about his inability to score Voracek had this to say.
I almost forgot how I’m gonna celebrate. That’s why I didn’t. As a line we had a good game, but it’s just one game. Back to work tomorrow and come back Thursday. No, to be honest (it wasn’t a huge relief). Unless I have 10 goals, I don’t think you guys will stop
He was referring to the night when he scored his second goal of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, as humorous as his tone might have been, he’s struggling and he knows it. There’s no rhyme or reason why Voracek can’t score because he’s shooting the puck, generating chances, but hasn’t had any “puck luck” and it shows.
Since he did sign a massive extension, this is the pressure he’s going to face and it’s completely justified. If he was still counting for $4.25 million against the cap, as his previous contract paid him, then this would not be an issue. But the Flyers rewarded his last season and are paying him like a superstar.
Vorcaek might be putting in the work, getting unlucky or whatever reason you want to assign to his struggles, but the bottom line is that his production isn’t acceptable. Regardless of whether he deserves the blame, he’s going to get it until he starts producing more goals for the struggling Flyers. Because if he doesn’t that contract is going to look like a huge mistake for Philadelphia and Voracek could quickly find himself on the trade block.
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Michael Pityk is an analyst who has written for numerous sites since beginning his professional career. He’s acted as a credentialed member of the media for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Sports Journal, MSN, PensLabyrinth, Montreal Hockey Talk, ESPN Pittsburgh, The Hockey Writers, Todays SlapShot and The Bleacher Report. He formerly was the editor of Pens Labyrinth and an analyst for The Sports Journal. Michael presently acts as an NHL Analyst for The Hockey Writers