The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Jakub Voracek from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Cam Atkinson.
This is a high-stakes gamble including two modern-day icons for each of these teams. Both are aging, expensive, and have years left on their contract. Let’s start with the Flyers. This is a tough trade to love, considering overall, Voracek is the better player. He can consistently rack up assists; the shortened season broke up his six-year streak of at least 40 apples, although in an 82-game season he was on pace to hit the mark. But Voracek has never been a great goal scorer. He failed to reach double-digits this past year. The Flyers need to clear cap space to sign RFAs Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim, and they do here. Voracek has a $8.25 million cap hit for three more seasons. The team clears up nearly $2.4 million in space with this trade. Atkinson is more of a shoot-first winger. He scored 41 goals in 2018-19, but just 27 over the past two seasons. Yes, a shooting percentage under ten in each of those years played a part. But, Atkinson may not be the scorer he once was anymore. Still, he can play second-line minutes on the Flyers. Atkinson has four years left with a $5.875 million cap hit.
Atkinson, 32, scored 15 goals with 19 assists for 34 points in 56 games for the Blue Jackets in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all in Columbus, Atkinson has scored 213 goals with 189 assists for 402 points in 627 games.
Right after Seth Jones, Atkinson is the next man out of the revolving door in Columbus. Atkinson, Nick Foligno, and David Savard led the Blue Jackets for many seasons. After the latter two were dealt earlier this year, they are all gone. Voracek is a better player, but that contract is ugly. They do have the space for it, as the team is still under the cap floor as of now. Voracek’s assist production has been much steadier than Atkinson, so that is a plus. Voracek was actually selected by Columbus 7th overall in 2007. As a 20-year-old in 2009-10, Voracek recorded 50 points. However, he was dealt in the ill-advised Jeff Carter trade.
Voracek, who will be 32 next season, scored nine goals with 34 assists for 43 points in 53 games for the Flyers this past season. In his NHL career for Philadelphia and Columbus, Voracek has scored 216 goals with 522 assists for 738 points in 968 games.