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Will Jakub Voracek Ascend to Stardom with Philadelphia Flyers in 2014-15?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 27:  Jakub Voracek #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the San Jose Sharks on February 27, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Len Redkoles/Getty Images
Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IDecember 9, 2016

Jakub Voracek is a supremely talented winger and legitimate first-line player who has put up solid numbers in the past while showing good chemistry with center Claude Giroux.

But those things, independent of each other, are not quite enough. If Voracek, now 25 years old, is able to put everything together and be a consistent scorer in 2014-15, he could be a major difference-maker for Philadelphia.

The question of whether or not Voracek will become a full-fledged star has huge implications for the offensive output of head coach Craig Berube's squad.

Last week, I delved into arguably the most crucial question facing an individual player on the Philadelphia Flyers this season: Will Sean Couturier take the next step in 2014-15?

Couturier's next step is different than Voracek's, seeing as he is much younger and plays a more defensive game.

Couturier's importance is so massive because the Flyers have a bit of uncertainty behind Giroux at center, and having a dominant two-way center who can kill penalties and be responsible in his own end is incredibly crucial to success.

Just look at teams like Los Angeles (with Anze Kopitar), Boston (Patrice Bergeron) and Chicago (Jonathan Toews). Now, nobody will expect Couturier to get in that category of players next season, but if he can take another step toward that joining that group, then the Flyers would be much better off.

Meanwhile, Voracek has proven himself to be a competent first-line winger. I certainly do not think he will regress at all, and the Flyers would be perfectly fine if he maintains his current level.

However, they could also get a real boost if he ascends to stardom and becomes the weapon that many people think he has the potential to be.

Before 2013-14, when he scored 62 points, Voracek's career-high point total actually came way back in 2009-10 with Columbus, when he put up a solid 50.

With that said, he scored at nearly a point-per-game pace in 2013 during the lockout-shortened season, and it was during stretches of that year when his star potential really shined.

He has the size, speed, skill and knack for scoring to become an elite winger. The biggest problem is that he sometimes doesn't seem to use those natural abilities on a consistent basis.

There's no question that he can take over games at times. He had three three-point games in 2013-14, and his dominance has been evident in some big games as well.

In order to get over that hump and become a true star, however, he has to make more of the small plays in routine situations and find ways to produce every night.

He and Giroux are right smack in the middle of their primes now and will be for the next couple of years. Voracek has a great opportunity to step up and take advantage of playing alongside a great talent like Giroux.

There's no one point total that signifies a "star," and it's impossible to quantify such a label. Nevertheless, the 75-point mark is a good place to start, along with being consistent night in and night out and scoring at clutch moments.

The Flyers are going to be riding their offense this year, and Voracek will have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He has the talent for it, but will he step up to the challenge?

This year, we will really get to see what Voracek is made of.

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