Flyers re-sign Voracek, will give Laviolette an extension

Posted: July 27, 2012

After a summer of discontent, there was finally some positive news for the Flyers on Thursday as they signed right winger Jake Voracek to a multiyear pact.

That means the top line is probably set. Voracek is expected to be on a unit with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.

In that setup, the 6-foot-2, 214-pound Voracek would replace his idol, Jaromir Jagr, on the first line. Jagr signed with Dallas earlier this month.

Voracek, who turns 23 next month, was a restricted free agent who scored a career-high 18 goals last season. He signed a four-year deal for $17 million, an annual cap hit of $4.25 million - second-highest among Flyers forwards, behind veteran Danny Briere ($6.5 million).

A year ago, Voracek earned $2.25 million.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren called Voracek "a big part of our future."

"He's gotten better each year in the league, and we look for him to continue to blossom. We think there's still a lot more there," said Holmgren, who struck out earlier this month as he tried to add free agents Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Shea Weber.

Voracek, who is training in Montreal, didn't want to predict how many goals he could score if he was on the top line.

"It is hard to say the numbers. I am always careful before the season starts saying what numbers I can put [up]," he said in a conference call with reporters. "I always say my shot isn't bad; I think I have a good shot and a heavy shot. My accuracy isn't as good as it could be and I miss the net a lot. . . . I am working on it. I still have two months to work on it and we will see what happens."

 Voracek said spending a year with Jagr and watching his work habits was "priceless."

"It was very fun for me last year with all the players, especially [Jagr]. He was practically my idol since I was a kid," said Voracek, who comes from the same town as Jagr - Kladno in the Czech Republic. "To be around him all year long and to watch what he does before the games, after games, and during practice was something priceless. . . . He obviously helped me a lot, and to be around him I thank him for that and wish him the best of luck."

 Voracek said he did not feel anxious as his contract talks dragged on.

"I was patient. We all knew what was happening with free agency," he said, referring to the Flyers' pursuit of Parise, Suter, and Weber, among others. "I knew I would get the opportunity to sign, and I'm happy with the terms of the deal."

Voracek was acquired in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus last year. The Flyers also received draft picks that netted Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins.

The seventh overall selection in the 2007 draft, Voracek finished third on the Flyers during last season's playoffs as he collected 10 points in 11 games.

Voracek finished with 49 points in the regular season, one shy of his career high.

"The first 15 games I was getting used to the new style and the new system, but since the beginning of November and December, I began to get into my comfortable shoes and every game I was getting better and better," he said.

Laviolette extension. Holmgren said coach Peter Laviolette would be given an extension and that he expects the deal to be completed within a week - and perhaps by the end of the weekend. Laviolette has directed the Flyers to back-to-back 47-win seasons. You have to go back to the mid-1980s to find a time when the Flyers had more victories in consecutive seasons.

Holmgren had said after the season Laviolette would get an extension, but the general manager has been busy with free-agent matters. Now the sides are close to hammering out a deal.

Laviolette, 47, was named the coach early in the 2009-10 season and he led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers have lost in the conference semifinals the last two seasons.

The Flyers are 112-73-26 under Laviolette in the regular season, and 23-23 in the playoffs.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com, or

on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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