The Philadelphia Flyers will likely be turning to 23-year-old Jakub Voracek to fill the void in Philly's first line left by living NHL legend Jaromir Jagr. Unfortunately, Voracek may leave Philly poster boy Claude Giroux hanging out to dry on offense.
Jagr's role in Philadelphia was crucial. He was a mentor to many young Flyer forwards and he was a reliable and insightful player to have on the first line for the majority of the season.
Admittedly, Jagr's production plummeted after he suffered an injury during the 2011 Winter Classic, and he never returned to form.
Still, Voracek on the top line is a downgrade from even an aging Jaromir Jagr.
Voracek fell just short of the 50-point mark, which Jagr surpassed (he had 54 points, despite having less ice time).
Voracek should make a speedy addition to the Flyers first line. While speed is a great thing to have on the wing, Voracek's four years of experience leaves room for worry. He is unlikely to match the consistent and intelligent offense of Jagr, and this inability to step up to the plate will likely hinder the performances of Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux.
Here are three reasons why Voracek will not be the same without the Czech legend.
A position on the No. 1 line is tremendous pressure—especially for a 23-year-old with only four seasons under his belt. As a young and inexperienced player, Jakub Voracek is a recipe for first-line disaster.
Ushering a player into the starting position is almost always a rocky experience. That experience becomes an even more precarious one when the player has not gotten his sea legs yet.
Voracek's feet might be fast, but his game play and wit are not developed enough to keep up with line mate Claude Giroux. He may be nervous, which will affect the players around him—especially in Philly, where the media and fans have been known to crucify players who provide less-than-desired performances.
Jagr was a rock on the first line. He played almost 20 seasons in the NHL, five of which were 100-plus point seasons. Giroux could count on Jagr to read the play and be in position.
Giroux will not have that rock in 2013 with Voracek on the wing.
Jakub Voracek's four years would normally not be considered to be a lack of experience; however, in comparison to Jagr's almost 20 years in the NHL, Voracek could be considered a rookie.
There is a big difference between a player who hovered around the 50-point mark over four NHL seasons and a 20-year legend who is no stranger to 70-plus point seasons.
A successful transition from secondary scoring to top line needs to be slow and gradual. Voracek's transition is abrupt; a result of desperation.
As a fellow Czech, Jagr was a mentor to Voracek. He helped Voracek improve at a healthy, gradual pace.
Unfortunately for Voracek, he will not get that time to grow. The teacher has abandoned the student; a student who still has things to learn.
The Philadelphia Flyers sat and watched as their general manager Paul Holmgren scrambled for free agents this offseason to replace Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk on offense.
According to NHL.com, Holmgren had offers in for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, as well as Predators' restricted free-agent Shea Weber (he even signed the defender to a $110 million offer sheet). Holmgren was not successful in any of his offseason pursuits.
The Flyers, who have lost one key veteran and also a promising young player, now have to ignore the fact that their general manager has been desperately jumping through hoops, hoping to add a player to his roster. The team has to feel unnerved about this turn of events.
Jakub Voracek will be looked upon to step up and take the reigns on the first line. Voracek is in a difficult spot at an even more difficult time in his career.
As can be seen in Minnesota, exploiting the free-agency pool can rally an entire team. Coming up short, like Philly did, could do the opposite.