It’s the beginning of hell. Several grueling weeks of rumors and whispers and transactions, and it’s all starting to ramp up with the Philadelphia Flyers either involved in a lot of trade ideas or just yelling about how poor the season just was. It certainly doesn’t help those who want a calm offseason (those freaks) that the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft is the very first hurdle 30 teams need to throw themselves over and see if they aren’t severely dismembered on the other side.
Protection lists are due in just a week and the Flyers still have some decisions to make, but according to Elliotte Friedman, there is at least one thing made clear.
I’m going to stress that this situation has been described as “not acrimonious” to me, but Philadelphia and Jakub Voracek have discussed that it might be time for a change, as well. Voracek is expected to be left unprotected for the expansion draft (and was told so), where former Flyers coach Dave Hakstol would weigh in. Should that fail, Philly will look elsewhere. There are three years left on his contract, with cash slightly lower than his cap hit of $8.25 million. Both sides are also prepared for the possibility a trade won’t occur, so he stays put. But there will be a legit attempt to move him. - Elliotte Friedman, 31 Thoughts
In his last 31 Thoughts blog of the season, Friedman stressed that Voracek will be heavily shopped around the league if he is not taken by the Seattle Kraken on July 21. The 31-year-old winger has just three years left on his deal and is still a productive winger that can really help a team’s offense — nothing like starting out your first season in franchise history already with a good-but-slightly-overpaid top-six winger.
Even if his contract leaves a sour taste in your mouth when you pop open CapFriendly, Voracek has kept a solid level of production into his later years. Just this past season he scored 9 goals and 43 points in just 53 games — even before that he made his mark earning 9 points in 15 postseason games. It’s not like this is a broken-down player that a team will need a 1st-round pick to take the contract of, he’s just not peak value for that kind of cap hit.
If he is taken by Seattle — he will be unprotected according to Friedman — then it’s a simple transaction that is just fine and dandy and good for a team that is starting from scratch. Especially given that they have an empty field of cap hits, Voracek’s $8.25-million AAV won’t seem like the burden it is in Philadelphia.
Whether or not there is a more attractive option from the Flyers is undetermined without real knowledge of who will be protected. Is James van Riemsdyk and his two years left on a contract that is a tier lower than Voracek at $7-million AAV, more suitable for the Kraken? Maybe. Or is Shayne Gostisbehere or Philippe Myers going to be the top-four defenseman that is on the outside looking in and the Kraken will snatch one of them up? That’s a possibility too.
The interesting wrinkle that Friedman added in just that one short blurb of a paragraph is that the Flyers will be shopping Voracek around, if he is not taken by Seattle. It certainly helps that a total of 25 teams have over $10 million in cap space right now (without signing any of their free agents, obviously), so there are multiple options for teams wanting to make that jump into playoff contention with a top-six winger added to their struggling fold. Even 13 teams are under the cap floor, which just feels bonkers to me.
No matter what, there is going to be a real good effort to try and find Voracek a new home for next season and it’s probably just best for both parties short and long-term.