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Voracek, Simmonds were silver linings in bad Flyers season

Aug 30, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT

Jakub Voracek #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers (L) celebrates his first period powerplay goal along with Wayne Simmonds #17 (R) against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 13, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.
(March 12, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Although the 2013 campaign is one that the Philadelphia Flyers will be eager to put behind them, it wasn’t completely devoid of positives. Through the hardships, some players were able to step up and two of the most prominent examples of that were forwards Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek.

The Flyers acquired Voracek from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the summer of 2011 as part of the Jeff Carter deal and he posted 49 points in his debut season with Philadelphia. He got off to an unremarkable start in 2013, but he eventually developed some on-ice chemistry with Claude Giroux.

Voracek heated up in February and never looked back, scoring a career-high 22 goals and 46 points in 48 games. He also fired 129 shots at the net, which would have been on pace for a career-high had 2013 been a normal 82-game campaign and found the back of the net a remarkable 17.1% of the time.

The 24-year-old is likely to start the new season on the Flyers’ top line. Whether or not he can come close to replicating that level of success remains to be seen, but he’s locked up for another three years with an annual cap hit of $4.25 million and has the potential to make that price look like a steal.

Like Voracek, Simmonds is a young forward that Philadelphia acquired in the summer of 2011, this time in the Mike Richards trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Simmonds already set new career-highs in 2011-12 with 28 goals and 49 points in 82 games. Still, he was even better last season from a points per game perspective with 15 goals and 17 assists in 45 games.

Simmonds plays with a physical edge and it’s that blend of grit and skill that makes him so valuable to Philadelphia. He turned 25 on Monday and is looking forward to a long career with the Flyers. He’ll be starting his six-year, $23.85 million contract in 2013-14.

Philadelphia is certainly a team with areas of concern, but its offense is strong and should remain so for years to come. Simmonds and Voracek are two of the reasons why.

  1. rodeoclowndc - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    We should have kept Voracek. Another trade with Howson’s blotchy fingerprints all over it.

    • goodolejr - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Ahh it’s alright, we paid you back with that Russian goalie guy that just won that trophy.

      (that sound you hear is sniffling and sobbing, as I’m still not over it yet)

    • mikedmcclain - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      my classmate’s mother makes $88 hourly on the internet. She has been fired from work for 5 months but last month her check was $14928 just working on the internet for a few hours. read the article…

  2. lowenni - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Love the way Simmonds plays the game.

  3. goodolejr - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Simmonds is becoming my favorite Flyer. I’ve lost track of how many post game interviews he’s done with fat lips, gashes, swollen eyes, etc. The guy scored a damn goal off of his face. He’s a warrior for sure and he’s got the skills on top of it. This kid is an absolute beast and I’d redo both of those trades 1,000 times over. That’s not to take away from Richie and Carter, they’re both great players. I just feel like our return for both trades outweighed what we gave up.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Absolutely agree. Not to mention Voracek and Simmonds, themselves (combined), outproduced Carter and Richards (combined) by a nice margin this past season. Then you add in the fact the Flyers also got Couturier and Schenn, two players who haven’t come close to hitting their potentials, and it’s essentially a steal. Sure LA won the Cup but it wasn’t Richards who put them over the top (it was Quick). And Carter went to them via Columbus so you can’t even really say the Flyers gave the Kings two important components.

      Down the road, LA will be strapped with two long term deals on aging performers, while Simmonds and Voracek are just about to enter their primes now. And Couturier and Schenn are still 5 or 6 years away from that point.

      • lowdownthrowdown - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        The Kings play a very defensive system. There’s a reason why Richards and Carter both have point drops compared to their Philly days and why Simmonds has a big increase compared to his LA days. Kopitar is probably one of the top 10, if not top 5 guys in the league in skill, but he’s asked to sacrifice some of that to play in this heavily defensive system. Philly, sorry to say, has no defensive system. In the 2012 playoffs, you guys gave up almost as many goals in the first round as we did the entire cup winning playoffs. Sure, Quick was a beast and is the best goaltender in the league, but it’s the defensive system that helps as well. I hated losing Simmer (and Schenn, but he wasn’t really with us, but rather developing), but the fact is we would not have won the cup without Richie and Carts. We didn’t leave the first round with Simmer, but with your former boys, we have won a cup and went to the conference finals the following year, losing only to the eventual champs. Trades are best when both clubs are happy and feel they got the better end of the deal. In this case, I think we got the steal. You have to go with winning. Even if we are “strapped with two long term deals on aging performers”, we won a cup and will contend again for the next couple years at least. I’d rather win, even just once, than always be hoping and looking on the bright side of what we might have.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        I don’t disagree with your comments however when examining the Richards+Carter deals you have to look at the entire return… which included Voracek and Couturier, not just Schenn and Simmonds. Those are four core pieces who are all 25 and under. So the Kings went for the more immediate return and it worked out well, obviously; and the Flyers went for the future return and so far it’s worked, but there’s a good chance it gets even better. And honestly, if Pronger had not suffered a career ending injury it’s possible the Flyers would have made another Cup final, post Carter+Richards. We lost our heart and soul, #1 defender and that seriously impacted the teams ability to keep the puck out of the net. I mean we’ve all seen the impact Chara has on a dcorps that without him, would probably be middle of road.

        I can’t argue that Carter and Richards weren’t integral the Cup victory. Or that their production has suffered bc of Sutter’s defensive system. However, I’ve seen enough of those two players to say definitively that this club is better with Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and Couturier than those two on long term, expensive deals. I’d absolutely take one Cup over potential but I think we already saw the peak of where Carter/Richards could lead the club. They’re much better as support players in LA. And it opened the door for Giroux to blossom as the guy, despite last seasons organizational debacle. It’s true there are a lot of “ifs”in the Flyers future, but the developing core has a chance to be special. Especially if complimentary pieces like Lecavalier, Hartnell, Timonen, and Streit play like they should. A lot hinges on the development of Mason. If he can post #s just close to his 7-game stint (.944sv%, 1.90gaa) then this Flyers team is seriously dangerous. Overall though, despite the Kings success, I’d still take our return of Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and Coots. You think LA got a steal bc you won the Cup. And that’s a legitimate point. I think the Flyers got a steal bc the two deals essentially set our core for next 5+ years (barring trades). Without Carters scoring LA might not win the Cup, but it’s important to remember that it was Columbus who traded him. So the Kings success isn’t necessarily a direct reflection back on the Flyers 4-player return. You can’t say LA fleeced the Flyers bc they won the Cup since Carter wasn’t even a Flyer. If you wanna say LA won the Cup solely bc of the acquisition of Richards, that’s different. So what I’m saying is, when I look at the Flyers return vs. what we gave up in Carter+Richards I don’t factor in Carters Cup contributions bc we had nothing to do with Carter going to LA… Maybe it’s semantics but it’s how I evaluate the trades.

      • 19to77 - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        This is one of those relatively rare cases where the trades worked out well for every side, with most or all players involved growing into important roles on their new teams. Schenn’s not there yet, admittedly, and Couturier needs a bounceback season, but on the whole all three teams involved in these deals got valuable core pieces – Columbus absolutely loves Jack Johnson, after all.

        All told, it seems like everyone walked away from this series of transactions pretty happy. The Kings got two key pieces of their Cup run, the Flyers built their future forward corps with the guys they got and with Giroux’s expanded role replacing Richards as the top centre, and Columbus got a guy who’s become their #1D. Good value for all.

  4. chris4451087 - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    lowdown…It was very nice to read a reasonable, thought out post relating to that trade…instead of the nastiness that frequently occurs on these sites. I agree, that trade helped out both teams…as a Flyer fan I hope that we have a Cup coming to really even the deal.

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Lil Wayne Simmers be dat dude. If he can keep his emotion in check a little better, he can be effective every time he steps on the ice. It’s nice to see Voracek come into his own. He was draft 7th overall for a reason. Glad to see both wearing Orange and Black.

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