On June 23rd, 2011, the Flyers made a pair of trades that changed the direction of the franchise. They shipped out Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in two separate deals and got back a handful of young players. Among them was Jakub Voracek from Columbus.
Carter was sent to Columbus by the Flyers but then reunited with Richards in Los Angeles via trade. There, they went on to win two Stanley Cups, including one with Ron Hextall as Kings Vice President and Assistant General Manager. A decade later, Hextall traded for an aging Jeff Carter at the trade deadline while Voracek got traded in the offseason.
The Voracek - Atkinson trade really brought the Jeff Carter deal full circle.
In the 2011 offseason, Columbus traded Voracek and two draft picks (used to select Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins) to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter. In February of 2012, Carter was shipped to the Kings for Jack Johnson and a first-round pick (used to select Marko Dano).
10 years, one month, and one day after being traded to Philadelphia, Voracek was dealt to Columbus in a one-for-one swap for Cam Atkinson. It’s a trade that was made (at least partially) due to the feel in the locker room, which is why Carter and Richards got shipped out in 2011.
Voracek had 10 great years in Philadelphia, recording 604 points (177 goals, 427 assists) in 727 games. He ranks 10th all-time in games played with the Flyers, fifth in assists, and 10th in points.
Those 604 points were the 15th-most in the NHL during his 10 seasons in Philadelphia. His 427 assists ranked eighth as well.
“First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jake, and he’s one of the best players in franchise history,” Chuck Fletcher said after the trade. “Love him as a person. We’ve had great conversations all year and for the three years I’ve been here. Gotten really close to him. It’s definitely a mutual thing. I think he would say the same thing. I think it was time for Jake to go to a new team and re-energize. It was time for us to bring in different players and get going in a different direction. It’s as simple as that.”
Atkinson brings a lot of positive energy and excitement to the Flyers. He has a shoot-first mentality and plays the game the right way. Atkinson is a great penalty killer as well, which is something that the Flyers desperately need.
Voracek and Giroux combined to carry lifeless Flyers rosters to the playoffs in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and got their one final time in 2020 in what looked like the big step for the Flyers. Unfortunately, they took a step back last season and a change needed to be made.
Despite Voracek’s consistent production, he seemed to have worn out his welcome with some of the fanbase (and media). It didn’t help that he had one of the larger contracts on the team at an $8.25 million cap hit through the 2023-24 season. Chuck Fletcher wanted to shake up the core, and like a few years ago with Brayden Schenn, Voracek’s name was the one that kept popping up. Eventually, a trade came to fruition with Voracek being swapped for another veteran winger, Cam Atkinson.
It’s going to be weird seeing Voracek in anything but a Flyers sweater. Assuming he stays with Columbus, Voracek and the Blue Jackets will return to the Wells Fargo Center on January 20th and April 5th in the 2021-22 season.