The Arizona Coyotes continue their run on contracts they will never have to pay out. The team has acquired Jakub Voracek from the Columbus Blue Jackets, along with a 2023 sixth-round pick, in exchange for Jon Gillies. Voracek’s career is in doubt, and according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, there is insurance coverage for next year’s $7.8MM salary.
The move is important for a few different reasons. One, it gets the Coyotes much closer to the salary cap floor for next season, meaning they can make additional trades in the next 24 hours to jettison more expensive pieces like Nick Schmaltz or Lawson Crouse that may be drawing interest.
For the Blue Jackets, the move lets them get out from long-term injured reserve and under the salary cap ceiling, meaning performance bonuses from this year will no longer be carried over to 2023-24. With only the cost of a sixth-round pick to pay, it makes plenty of sense to get Voracek’s contract off the books.
If it is the end of his career as suspected, thanks to multiple head injuries, Voracek will go down as one of his generation’s more underrated offensive players. With over 800 points in his career, he sits 177th all-time and is just shy of the top 100 in assists with 583.
He’ll join a long list of players who have technically been part of the Coyotes organization but never played a game for the team, should he miss next season as expected.
Arizona now has Voracek, Shea Weber, and Bryan Little on the books for next season, a total of nearly $21.4MM in cap hits that won’t play a minute of ice time. On the other hand, they also have 36 draft picks over the next three years, including 21 in the top three rounds.