Over the course of this NHL offseason there has been a lot of good news coming out of the Flyers, and it has all centered around GM Ron Hextall. Like a master builder, Hextall has been skillfully assembling what he hopes to be a vastly improved Flyers team.
First Hextall hired a new coach, and signed a couple of quality free agents. That was followed by an excellent draft and a long-term contract extension for Sean Couturier. But the most significant piece of all was added Thursday when Hextall inked right winger Jakub Voracek to a new multi-year extension.
This deal, (reported to be $66 million over 8 years) is a win-win for both the team and Voracek. The Flyers now have another legitimate star in the fold for the foreseeable future. And Voracek gets a well-deserved reward for his outstanding play, highlighted by his epic season last year.
During the 2014-15 season Voracek led the Flyers in both points (81) and assists (59). He also scored 22 goals which ranked third on the team. His 81 points ranked him tied for fourth in the NHL. And if that wasn’t enough, Voracek was awarded the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team MVP for the second time in three years. Voracek was also named to the NHL’s postseason First All-Star Team, becoming the first Flyer to receive that honor since the 1997-98 season when John LeClair was selected.
On top of all that, Voracek has been as durable as they come. On a team wracked with injuries over the past few years he has recorded three straight seasons of playing every single game. He is the current “iron-man” leader for the Flyers, with 226 consecutive games played, and has missed a total of only 4 games in his time with the Flyers (290 of 294). In addition, he is only 26 years old, and should have a long future ahead of him.
Slowly but surely Ron Hextall has been building a team that he hopes will compete for a playoff berth this year and a Stanley Cup down the road. Only time will tell if he succeeds. But at least we know one thing for sure – Jake Voracek will be a big part of that rebuilding process. And for the Flyers and their fans that may be the best news of all.