PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Flyers signed forward Jakub Voracek to a four-year contract Thursday, worth $17 million.
Voracek came to Philadelphia last season in the deal that sent forward Jeff Carter to Columbus and had a big debut season in the Eastern Conference. He had 18 goals and 49 points in 78 regular-season games last season, and finished third on the Flyers in postseason scoring with 10 points.
"We are happy to have Jake under contract," Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren said, "and look forward to him being a big part of our future."
Across four seasons in the NHL, Voracek has 57 goals and 183 points in 319 regular-season games. He has played in just 15 postseason games, 11 of them with Philadelphia last season. His salary cap will be $4.25 million, annually.
Voracek, 22, is one of the key cogs up front that Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette would like to build around. He was one of seven Flyers to score at least 18 goals last season, and all but one — forward Jaromir Jagr, who signed with Dallas — will be back next season.
"We really like our team, we certainly don't want to make any drastic changes, but we are going to continue to look at ways to get better," Holmgren said this week after losing out on the battle for free-agent defenseman Shea Weber. "The object is to have the best team going into training camp and that's what we're going to do. We'll see what happens."
Voracek was a plus-11 last season as the Flyers snared the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. They defeated Pittsburgh in Round 1 in six games, before bowing out to New Jersey in five. It was the second straight season in which Philadelphia exited in Round 2.
"We envision Jake playing with (leading scorer) Claude (Giroux) next year," Holmgren said. "That's the way we look at it."
In addition to Weber, the Flyers also lost out on the free-agent sweepstakes for forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, who both signed with Minnesota. Aside from losing Jagr, who took a surprisingly high $4.5 million deal from the Stars, Philadelphia also watched one of its best defenseman, Matt Carle, sign with Tampa Bay.
Through it all, Holmgren, who will likely pursue trade options at this point with the free-agent pool shallow, has remained committed to the cause.
"We like our team. We think it's a good, up-and-coming young team," he said. "We'll move forward."