Cam Atkinson is gone.
It hurts. He was around the franchise and city for a long time, but he'll have a new opportunity in Philadelphia. The Blue Jackets traded Atkinson to the Flyers this morning in exchange for Jakub Voracek in a one-for-one deal.
Voracek, if you remember, began his career with the Blue Jackets. They selected him in the first round of the 2007 NHL Draft, and he played three years in Columbus before being dealt to Philadelphia in the Jeff Carter trade. Ten years later, Voracek's back.
So what can the Blue Jackets expect from him?
For starters, he's an incredible passer. In the past five years, he's averaged 0.63 assists per game. He's exactly what Patrik Laine needs. Voracek has skill with the puck and incredible vision, which will allow him to find Laine in dangerous spots.
Jakub Voracek, acquired by CBJ, is an all-offence top six winger who provides all his value through playmaking. He's consistently been a very strong high-danger passer and is probably underrated by this model as a result. #CBJ pic.twitter.com/XyIJVSi4E3— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 24, 2021
As you can see, Voracek is all-offense at this point. He will play in the top six for the Blue Jackets, essentially slotting in where Atkinson did. If he plays with Laine, they'll need a center who can play solid defense as well. The jury's still out on the Blue Jackets' center depth next year. If they don't make any moves, their options are Max Domi, Alexandre Texier, Boone Jenner, and Jack Roslovic. That's not great.
#CBJ Jake Voracek via text message: Good to be home. Cant wait to play in Cbus again.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 24, 2021
Voracek's got a left-handed shot and will play on the Blue Jackets' top power-play unit. He's creative with the puck, and will give the Blue Jackets some much-needed calmness on the puck.
"This is a significant trade for our club and we are very excited to welcome Jake Voracek back to the Blue Jackets family," said GM Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement. "He is a powerful, dynamic offensive player that will be a significant contributor to our club."