Voracek Flies Into Leadership

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The Draft

Voracek is a veteran, who has spent the last ten years in Philadelphia and his time had come to an end, without embellishing the fact, he and Vigneault were unhappy with each other. Vigneault doesn’t seem to be a coach, who like many in the NHL doesn’t mince words. After the loss in the Bubble in 2020, there was a public dispute between himself and Alain Vigneault.

“I talked to Jake about this,” Vigneault told reporters. “I challenged him about this season. There’s a man who’s been in the league for a long time. Basically, he’s won two playoff rounds.”

I can only imagine how Voracek felt, given that Tortorella has publically called out many players in his tenure here. It sows dissension in the ranks of any unit. It shows a lack of confidence in your players and instead of dealing with it in-house, the toxicity is hard to escape.

Chuck Fletcher had chosen to not protect Jakub Voracek in the July expansion draft, which lead to an opening for the Seattle Kraken to take him. However, what happened was unexpected that he would be traded for long-time Columbus Star Cam Atkinson.

Power Play Juggernaut

Given that Voracek had 4 years of history here before being traded for Jeff Carter in 2011, it was a new opportunity for leadership. He has since taken leadership in Power Play situations which have turned the Columbus Blue Jackets into a Power Play juggernaut, compared to last season.

But the straw that serves the drink this year might be Voracek, who was acquired this offseason seemingly for this very role. He’s already contributed on all three man-advantage goals in the short preseason, twice using quick passes from Laine to set up Jenner at the front for goals and then scoring one of his own in Buffalo when the Sabres, worried about all of the other options on the ice, gave him the time and space to pick his spot.

The Blue Jackets are currently 19.6% on the Power Play, ranking 14th in the NHL. Compared to Tortorella’s last season, not only is Voracek’s acquisition paying dividends, so is the Pascal Vincent pick-up. Tortorella’s last season had a 15.38% Power Play percentage for 2020-2021.

Voracek’s last two seasons in Philadelphia were 56 points in 2019-2020 and 43 in 2020-2021, in midst of the chaos of the Bubble. So we know that he is a producer and he is an assist machine and as we have seen, before the Laine injury the perfect compliment to the former Jets winger.

“This is going to be the best thing for you that happens,” Voracek’s sister told him. “They want you. They want you to be there. They want you to play. They want you to put that weight on your shoulders which wasn’t happening in Philly for the last three years. I felt like I had more to give, always more to give. I never had that opportunity in my opinion. I’m really happy that this happened and I can actually some kind of way show what I’m capable of.”

This quote is definitely on the pulse with Columbus and how we feel about Jakub’s return here, he has been one of my favorite off-season pickups and I look forward to seeing him take us to the playoffs.

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