Voracek in for big pay day by next offseason

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As the Flyers have spent the offseason doing patchwork to the blue line and re-signing players left and right – and acquiring one or two in the process – a looming free-agent story has flown under the radar.

All-star winger Jake Voracek will return in Orange and Black next season. It is the final year of a four-year deal worth $17 million. Voracek will make $4.5 million next season. A bigger pay day awaits.

Voracek went from being a solid depth forward and nice compliment piece to an NHL superstar. He held his own in the scoring race last season, finishing with 81 points, tied for fourth in the NHL.

Before money comes into the discussion, Voracek has to follow up the two strongest years of his career. His 81-point campaign followed a 62-point season in 2013-14.

But here is where things get complicated. The Flyers are cap strapped with obnoxious contracts to Vincent Lecavalier, Andrew MacDonald and R.J. Umberger eating 14.1 million per year.

It’s easy to guesstimate Voracek’s worth based on players around the league. Ryan Getzlaf makes $8.25 million per season. Phil Kessel gets $8 million. Teammate Claude Giroux is making $8.275 million.

Comparable wingers like Patrick Kane – who makes $10.5 million AAV – and Vladimir Tarasenko – who just inked a new six-year deal worth $60 million, an AAV of $7.5 million – pretty much ensures Voracek will have to make at least $7 million and even more likely, at least match Tarasenko’s deal.

At the moment, the Flyers have around $500,000 in cap space.

The Flyers will have time to figure out ways to open up cap space and pending free agents that will likely not return following next season, if they even make it to the trade deadline.

Voracek wants to remain with the Flyers, and honestly, why wouldn’t he? He’s 25, is playing alongside another NHL superstar in Giroux and is part of the core for a team with an incredibly bright future just two or three years away from taking a run at contention.

His production is a big part of that. It will solidify his place among the core players on the team, while also cementing his status as one of the game’s top wingers.

If he can produce at the rate he did a season ago, then he’s in for a huge raise come the 2016-17 season.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.