When Jaromir Jagr left the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason to sign a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Dallas Stars, it raised another question the Flyers would have to answer this season in an offseason already full of issues they needed to resolve.
In this case it was "Who would replace Jagr's production on the team's top line?"
After losing Jagr, who scored 54 points in 73 games for Philadelphia last year, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette elected not to pursue a similar replacement off the free-agent market but rather give Jakub Voracek—a former seventh overall pick acquired by the Flyers the previous season in the Jeff Carter trade—the opportunity to play a role similar to Jagr's.
It's a role Voracek has flourished in.
Whilst Philadelphia has limped to a 11-11-1 record to start the lockout-shortened season with issues especially on defence that they are yet to completely overcome, Voracek has been a huge bright spot for the team, playing on the top line alongside new captain Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.
Through 23 games this season, Voracek leads the team in points (25) and assists (16) as well as being tied for the team lead in goals with Wayne Simmonds (nine).
If he were to continue on this pace, he would total 52 points for the year, setting a new career high despite only playing in 48 games as opposed to a full-length season.
His role as a key component on the Philadelphia power play has helped it to be ninth in the league in converting chances and as well as his strong team play, he's also exhibited game-changing ability as evidenced by the hat-trick he scored in the 6-5 win over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins and the individual effort he showed to break the deadlock against the Ottawa Senators last week.
Whether Voracek can continue his current torrid scoring streak (which saw him named Player of The Week from the week ending February 25th after scoring 11 points in four games) throughout the rest of the season is debatable, but with an increased role as part of Philadelphia's new-look offense, Voracek is proving that Holmgren and Laviolette's faith in him wasn't unjustified.