When the time came for the Philadelphia Flyers to reevaluate the current state of the team this past offseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher took the opportunity to trade away assets in an attempt to reshape the overall look of the organization. Fletcher made the moves necessary to put the organization in a better spot, even if that meant parting with core members of the team. (from ‘Flyers GM Fletcher sets course for overdue roster overhaul,’ USA Today, 7/27/2021).
“It was time for us to bring in different players and get going in a different direction It’s as simple as that,” Fletcher said. “Last year wasn’t good for any of us. (It) just felt like there was a malaise around the team all year. There was no energy, no juice. Nobody smiled. We didn’t play well. Look, we’ve got to get back to being a team. We got to get some energy here.”
The Flyers were in desperate need of a new look so the players that were traded made sense for rebuilding and benefitting the team moving forward. With the 2022 NHL All-Star break falling at the halfway point for the season, it is finally time to check in on how some of the former Flyers are doing with their new teams.
Jakub Voracek, Columbus Blue Jackets
After spending 10 seasons with the Flyers, Jakub Voracek was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Cam Atkinson. Voracek was an important part of the team’s core but quickly fell out of favor with the organization in the past couple of seasons. During his time in Philadelphia, he played 727 games and recorded 604 points (177G, 427A) while becoming a fan favorite.
Since leaving the Flyers, Voracek has played well throughout 41 games played for the Blue Jackets organization. He is currently tied for second on the team in points with 28 total (1G, 27A). He spent the first three years of his career in Columbus before being traded to Philadelphia as part of the Jeff Carter deal, which worked out for both sides (from ‘After 10 seasons In Philadelphia, Jakub Voracek happy to return to Columbus Blue Jackets,’ The Columbus Dispatch, 10/13/2021).
“I wasn’t shocked by the trade,” said Voracek, “I was shocked that I went back to Columbus. I didn’t expect that at all and I think it was a last-second thing, to be honest. I think there were some other things at play and then, I heard, all of a sudden Columbus hopped in and it was kind of surprising.
I knew it was going to be a great opportunity for me to prove what kind of player I am — because after 1,000 games I think everybody knows what kind of player I am — but get that new chance, new jump, new juice into you that obviously, I wasn’t getting in Philadelphia.”
While things changed drastically since his first go-around with the organization, Voracek was welcomed back with open arms and high expectations, which have been met so far this season. He recently played his 1,000th NHL game and will more than likely retire there once the time comes. He has two years remaining on his current contract following this season.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Phoenix Coyotes
Shayne Gostisbehere was drafted 78th Overall by the Flyers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. After winning an NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship with Union College in 2014, he signed with the Flyers for the remainder of the season. Gostisbehere would go on to spend the next seven seasons with them, where he played 381 NHL games and recorded 219 points (60G, 159A). He dealt with injuries that caused inconsistencies in his game, but he was still a fan favorite regardless of how bad things got.
Of the stranger moves, the Flyers made this offseason, Fletcher traded Gostisbehere, along with picks, to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for cap relief. The move baffled fans of both organizations as he was once considered to be a top-pair defenseman, but has a few rough seasons before being traded.
Since joining the Coyotes, Gostisbehere has started to get back to his former self. In 44 games played this season, he recorded 28 points (8G, 20A), making his presence on the blueline felt once again. The trade granted him the opportunity to reset his career and strive for new goals in the NHL. (from ‘Former Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere embracing career ‘reset’ with the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/11/2021)
“Coming to Arizona in general, it was a little bit of a reset for my career and coming to a team that’s rebuilding, it’s a full reset, not only personally, but team-wise, too,” Gostisbehere said. “I think it was a good blend for myself and my family. For me to just go out there and have fun doing the things that I’m capable of doing, getting the results, it’s pretty cool after a tough couple years.”
He will look to continue building on the success of the first half of the season as the Coyotes head into the second half of the season. The team currently sits at the bottom of the standings, but for him getting back to his game and proving he can still be a good defenseman is just as important as winning games.
Nolan Patrick, Vegas Golden Knights
The Flyers drafted Nolan Patrick second overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Patrick did not pan out to what the organization thought he would be after dealing with injuries and missing an entire season. He ended up missing nearly two years as he dealt with a migraine disorder that affected his career. He spent three years with the Flyers, playing 197 games and recording 70 points (30G,40A).
Patrick was traded to the Nashville Predators, along with Philippe Myers, as part of the Ryan Ellis trade. The Predators immediately sent him to the Vegas Golden Knights for Cody Glass, a young and promising prospect. Both players drafted in 2017 struggled to find their game, so a trade made the most sent for both sides (from ‘Nolan Patrick Looks Forward to Fresh Start with Golden Knights,’ Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7/19/2021).
“I think a fresh start was the best thing for me,” Patrick said. “Coming to an organization like Vegas is obviously extremely exciting. For my offseason training, I’m extremely motivated after the season I had. Looking for a bounce-back year. I’ve been doing everything I can to get myself ready for the first game.”
Shortly after joining the Golden Knights, the organization signed him to a two-year, $2.4 million contract. Since signing this contract, he has only played 16 games in which he recorded six points (2G,4A). He is once again dealing with minor injuries that have sidelined him for most of this season. He recently returned to the Golden Knights lineup and will look to build on the success of the team as he tried to find his game in the second half of the season.
He has never really had the chance to prove his worth due to injuries so it would be nice to see him break out a little bit and show why he was drafted second overall. Until then he will continue to be remembered for his misfortunes as a member of the Flyers.
While Voracek, Gostisbehere, and Patrick were certainly valued for their contributions to Philadelphia, things are clearly working out despite the offseason moves. The Flyers received some decent pieces, Atkinson and Ellis, in return for these players. At the end of the day, everything seems to have worked out for the better for all involved.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator and serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo in articles like this one.