Some guys tell you they don’t read the rips and trade rumors.
Some guys admit they peruse them from time to time, but it doesn’t affect how they think or how they play.
Jake Voracek isn’t one of those guys.
``You think about it,’’ he was saying the other day. ``You do. Everybody’s different. Some guys are going to tell you, no they don’t, some guys are going to say, maybe. But I think when things go wrong like this, you have it in the back of your head that anything’s possible.’’
The Flyers lost 3-0 Monday night to a team that entered the game with as low a point total as theirs. Like the Flyers, the St. Louis Blues fired their coach after a disastrous start, and in a bit of delicious irony, replaced him with the coach who was fired here to make room for their recently fired coach, Dave Hakstol.
Blues interim coach Craig Berube hasn’t performed miracles for a team that, like the Flyers, is filled with players who have not come close to meeting expectations. As a result, Brayden Schenn’s name is again appearing on those rumor boards that Voracek not only reads, but sometimes even responds to.
So, too, has the name of Vladimir Tarasenko, once considered a centerpiece to the Blues' youth movement. In the fourth year of an eight-year deal that averages $7.5 million annually, Tarasenko’s third-period goal was his 12th of the season and just his 24th point over 39 games this season.
A right wing like Tarasenko, Voracek’s productivity, while off from a year ago, is better (10 goals, 22 assists). Two years older than the Blues' 27-year-old wing, Voracek has been moved up and down the lineup this season in attempt to get other slumping players going.
His line Monday night, with second-year players Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom, was arguably the most effective.
He is a player with plenty of productivity left, but with his own long, high-priced contract -- an average of $8.25 million per season through 2023-24 – Voracek will be difficult to deal, and difficult to get appropriate value for.
And yet these guys do move at the trade deadline enough that Voracek wonders out loud if the friendships he has made with the Flyers' core group over his eight seasons here will be interrupted by a change of locale. Phil Kessel, with a hefty long-term deal ($8 million per) not unlike Voracek’s or Tarasenko’s, was dealt by Toronto to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2015. The Maple Leafs got prospects and picks to aid a rebuild and are now seeing the fruits. With Kessel playing an integral role, Pittsburgh won the Cup the following season.
Voracek was such a prospect once, traded here for Jeff Carter in 2011. Traded to the Kings in 2012, Carter is still playing under the 11-year, $58 million deal he signed here.
He thought he had a home here, as Voracek, then just 21, did in Columbus. Sobered by the disappointment that has dominated his tenure here, the playmaking Czech is a little more jaded this time around.
``If you don’t perform as a team, it doesn’t matter,’’ he said. ``I said it two years ago. We’ve been together for a long time. We have to make the success. We haven’t so far. Especially this year.
``I’ve been here for a long time. I’m going to be friends with a lot of those guys well after my career is over. But it’s a business. You don’t win, you’ve got to change it up.’’
The Flyers started from the top, firing the general manager and the coach to whom he strapped his fate. The new general manager, hired to be less ``unyielding’’ than the previous one, promoted Hart, the 20-year-old goalie fans had clamored for. Otherwise, though, Chuck Fletcher has been out of sight – but not out of mind.
There are 48 days between now and the NHL trade deadline. If Monday’s lifeless loss underlined anything, it is that this team is in standby mode as the new GM weighs all options and offers.
``Everybody feels the same way,’’ said Voracek. ``Unless your name is Claude Giroux, I think it’s in everybody’s head, whether they’re going to be here or not. I’m reading some sort of [bleep] every day.