Among the varied expectations for the Flyers this season, theres the one pertaining to 22-year-old Czech winger Jakub Voracek.
Theres an expectation Voracek will net more goals. Like, perhaps, 25.
This is a brand new start for Voracek, who came to the Flyers as part of the Jeff Carter trade last June.
Its no accident he played in all seven preseason games. Management, as well as the Flyers coaching staff, wanted to see him, encourage him and impress upon him that they think there is much more to his current game.
Two years ago, Voracek scored 16 goals for the Columbus Blue Jackets, playing many nights on lesser lines with Derrick Brassard and Raffi Torres.
During Flyers training camp, which ended over the weekend with a 2-1 loss at New Jersey, Voracek spent much of his time playing with Danny Briere. The objective is for Briere to trigger some goals from the youngster.
The good news: Voracek led the Flyers with 14 shots in preseason.
The bad news: He didnt score a goal.
That said, Voracek had a half-dozen shots that kissed the post or crossbar. He even had a point-blank open net shot in New Jersey get deflected off a defenseman.
I mean, I felt very good all preseason, Voracek said. I felt awesome every game. I think I could have one goal and a few more. Its just preseason.
Carter used to have a simple philosophy: In a goal slump? Keep shooting. Carter was annually among the league leaders in shots right behind Alex Ovechkin. He even took 342 shots three years ago.
Good philosophy, chirped Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.
I wasnt the leading shot guy in Columbus, he said. Rick Nash was. You keep shooting until the puck goes in. I still think I can get more shots in a game. Im still looking to pass sometimes.
I have to shoot it. I got better the last game with a few more dangerous shots. I have to keep driving to the net and shooting.
His newest, closest friend, Jaromir Jagr, was sitting nearby in the dressing room and shouted something over to Voracek in Czech. They started laughing.
Jagr had no problem scoring in preseason, netting four goals in three games. What advice can he offer Voracek to crack what many believe is raw, untapped scoring potential under that boyish grin and wavy blond hair?
Jagr said he had never seen Voracek play, other than the few times he played for the Czech national team at the World Championships.
Columbus is not a very popular team in Europe, Jagr said smiling. You don't see many highlights of them. That's the honest answer ... maybe if you see five guys scoring bleeping goals you might be on TV in Europe. You get Pittsburgh, Washington, Rangers, Philly. Not Columbus. Maybe Detroit.
People want the winners. Thats why I dont know how he shoots or how he played before. I saw him in world champs, but its a different game there. I dont think he was known to be a goal scorer. He was a strong guy on boards who skates with puck. But if he shoots more, he should have more points.
Keep shooting. Thats what Laviolette urged Voracek in this camp.
I think he is a talented player, Laviolette said. Lots of skill. He had strong legs which is able to get him out of trouble. The skill its a good combination.
Weve been trying to get him to shoot pucks at the net, attack the net. Hes been doing more as camp goes on here. He had point blank chance in New Jersey and it didnt go in. Eventually, they will go in.
Heres the deal: Voracek, like a lot of skilled European players, still tends to think pass as his first option instead of shoot.
Laviolette said that Claude Giroux is the same way. Thinks pass. Ditto for Ville Leino, when he was here.
He Voracek says that sometimes, he gets into scoring areas and something clicks in his brain to look for something better, Laviolette explained. Players who think pass, typically, dont end up with as many shots.
But we have been on him to shoot the puck. Hes done a good job there. Just hasnt gotten them to drop yet.
Jagr laughed, adding that it was preseason, and no one is counting all those shots off the post.
Not yet, anyway.
Voracek admitted he felt some relief because people in Philly arent all over his back to score goals.
You guys are better than in Columbus, he said. When I missed empty nets or goals they were all over me right away. Its been very positive here.
Lets put it this way. I worked too hard this summer not to have a good season. Im sure its going to start to go in and I will be more productive. Its impossible to take this many shots for it to stay out of the net this season.
The season begins Thursday night when the Flyers open in Boston.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org