Coming off a career-best season, Jakub Voracek was rewarded by the Flyers with an eight-year, $66 million contract extension that begins in the 2016-17 season.
That's real money. And you know what? He's worth every penny.
The unassuming 25-year-old may not be a superstar by reputation but he fits the bill by any statistical measure. He's coming off a career-best 81-point season, good for fifth in the NHL scoring race. He tallied 59 assists, one behind league-leader Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals. That's an impressive total on its own, but looks even better when you consider he was dishing apples to 20-goal men Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds rather than Alex Ovechkin.
And that generosity was no fluke. Over the past three seasons Voracek has accumulated more assists than any other winger in the game (122) and ranks third in total points (189) behind only Ovechkin (216) and Phil Kessel (193). To be fair he sits eighth in points-per-game at .89, but his ability to stay healthy and provide a consistent presence in the lineup is a huge plus.
So entering the final season of a four-year, $17 million deal, Voracek was steaming toward a huge payday in unrestricted free agency. Locking him up for the longest term allowed under the CBA just as he's entering his prime was a no-brainer for Flyers GM Ron Hextall. So was paying him a superstar's wage, albeit one with an AAV ($8.25 million) that's just a hair under what team leader Giroux takes home ($8.275 million).
That slight concession was as far as the hometown discount was going to go. Voracek's proved his value. And the Flyers anted up.