July 30, 2015
Only a couple of days after handing out quite a sum of money to Sean Couturier, Ron Hextall gave out even more. A lot more, in fact. The Flyers and star right winger Jake Voracek agreed on a long-term contract extension and the 25-year-old just got paaiiiiidddd. Because you can never take the boy out of Philly, TSN’s Frank Seravalli was first with the contract details:
Jake Voracek: 8-years, $66 million. AAV is $8.25 million. #TSN— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 30, 2015
One of the key talking points surrounding Voracek’s negotiations was how his potential new contract would compare to the one linemate Claude Giroux signed two years ago. Actually, we wrote a little about this very subject just last week:
Eight years and around an $8 million AAV (could be a little less, could be a little more) sounds like it should get the Flyers in the ballpark, as Claude Giroux’s extension was for eight years and an $8.275 million AAV.
Now that the numbers have been made public, Voracek’s AAV (average annual value) comes in at only slightly less than Giroux’s. It’s possible this may have been done by design. For the Flyers, there was no hometown discount here. According to General Fanager, there are currently only 11 other NHL players with a cap hit equal to or higher than Voracek’s. The Flyers are about to join the Blackhawks (Toews, Kane), Penguins (Crosby, Malkin), and Ducks (Perry, Getzlaf) in the small club of teams that pay two stars with a cap hit of at least $8.25 million. For his part, Voracek believes the duo can improve on its already high standards.
"I think we can get better because we got better every single year we’ve played together so far," Voracek told reporters on a conference call. "So I don’t see the reason why we couldn’t get better. I think with me and G, most important is to stay at the same level of playing for all 82 games and then following in the playoffs."
This deal was very close to the figure that the market dictated Voracek was going to receive (Broad Street Hockey did a great job with this subject). As Seravalli noted, Michael Del Zotto’s two-year contract and Couturier’s extension coupled with this move makes the Flyers’ cap situation in 2016-17… interesting. That is a subject for another day, though, because this was a deal that needed to get done.
"Clearly, it was our No. 1 priority [this offseason]," Hextall said. "The Jake Voraceks of the world are few and far between. He's certainly not a player that we're willing to take the risk of losing."
Hextall described former teammate and Voracek's agent Petr Svoboda as "his buddy" earlier this month, and the two men were able to come to an agreement. The Flyers got their man and Jake Voracek can play the 2015-16 season without contract negotiations looming over his head. Now we get the chance to see if he can live up to all of that money.
“It’s a good thing we came to a deal this quickly because now we can focus on everything else,” Voracek said.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann