Following a trade that sent Cam Atkinson from Columbus to Philadelphia in the summer of 2021, Voracek was back in Ohio's capital for the second time.
Making His Presence Felt
Voracek certainly made his mark his second time around in Columbus. He lead the team with 56 assists, 62 points, and 25 power-play points this season while playing in 79 games. His 56 helpers put him tied for 20th in the NHL the season, and are also the second most for his career and his best mark since the 2017-18 season.
While the Jackets did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season, Voracek says he still had a positive year.
"I had a great time," he said. "It was a great experience for me. It lit a fire under my ass."
Voracek added that a lot of players on the team got better throughout the season and that the goal for next season is to become a playoff team regularly.
Depth Is Key
Voracek spoke very highly of his teammates and emphasized the importance of scoring depth for successful teams.
"It's really important, down the road, if you want to be a good team, you've got to have depth," he said. "You have [Sean Kuraly] have a career year, [Eric Robinson] had a career year, [Patrik Laine] had a point-per-game.
He added that Boone Jenner "had a great season," Zach Werenski "was tremendous," and Vladislav Gavrikov had "great numbers as well."
Lack Of Puck Luck
Despite leading the team in points, Voracek posted a career-low six goals this season. The only other times he scored single-digit goals in a season was last season and the 2008-09 season, his rookie year, scoring nine in both of those seasons.
"If I ended up scoring 15 goals, I would be a 70-point player," he said.
His low goal total can be attributed to his career-low 4.1 shooting percentage. That number is 4.8% lower than his career average and 1.05% lower than his next lowest season. If you take Voracek's career goals/game average and prorate it over an 82-game season, it comes out to just over 17 goals/game. With better fortunes, he should be around that mark next season.
His Relationship With Patrik Laine
Patrik Laine had a bounce-back season in 2021-22, and Voracek and a great view, as he spent more time on the ice with Laine than any other Jackets forward, according to naturalstattrick.com.
"It was great," Voracek said about his experience with Laine, adding that he didn't know much about him aside from reading about Laine, but as the season went on they "became really close."
Just because he had a down year scoring goals does not mean that Voracek's year was uneventful. He played his 1000th career game, a milestone that just 369 other NHL players have reached. He also scored his 800th career point, which is something that just 176 other NHLers have been able to accomplish.
Voracek is in a great position to put up another 60-point season but is likely to approach the 70-point mark because his shooting percentage will be much better. He is a veteran on a young team that will be looking to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 2020 bubble.