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2017-18 Player Review: Jakub Voracek had a career season, yet not all were impressed

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Coming off a career high point total, Jake Voracek should be beloved by Flyers fans. Yet there’s a lot of vocal critics.

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

Jakub Voracek has been an elite point producing winger since joining the Flyers in June 2011. He’s been the Flyers second most reliable offensive threat for years is coming off a career high in points and assists. He, along with captain Claude Giroux and winger Wayne Simmonds, have formed the “Big Three” core of the Flyers for the past four or five seasons.


By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
82 20 65 85 50 228 8.80%

Voracek isn’t universally loved by the Flyers fan base with consistency and turnovers the most often cited complaints. However, Voracek is the 5th highest scoring winger in the NHL since joining the Flyers, after names like Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, and Blake Wheeler. There’s really no statistical area where Voracek doesn’t shine. He drives play at a good rate recently (50.4 CF% last year, with a CF REL of 1.5) and over his career as a Flyer (53.3 % CF and 4.1 CF REL). He was a danger with an xG% of 52.07 and a xGF REL of 2.23.

Voracek started the 2017-18 season on the Flyers super line with Giroux and center Sean Couturier. That line was next to unstoppable early and saw Voracek leading the NHL in assists about halfway through the season. Giroux was enjoying a great bounce back season and Couturier an offensive breakout. The trouble was, the Flyers were basically a one line team. They lacked the depth when opposing teams were able to contain the Flyers top line. They had to shake things up after a 10 game losing streak and Voracek found himself skating with rookie center Nolan Patrick.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi For % SA-Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM Score Adjusted-Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
50.66% 1.26 1.26 52.07% 2.23 59.34% 102.5

Patrick had struggled early in the season, coming off surgery right before the draft and having his early season interrupted by a concussion. But after being paired with Voracek (and later fellow rookie Oskar Lindblom) Patrick soared and showed why he was a highly rated prospect heading into his draft year. Voracek’s production dipped after leaving Couturier and Giroux, but he still managed to be a highly effective play driver and offensive weapon.

It’s kind of amazing we had to publish a defense of Voracek earlier this summer. He remains a key piece moving forward for the Flyers, giving Patrick an elite winger to help him develop and reach his full potential.


Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?

After a down season in 2016-17, the Flyers needed Voracek and Giroux to rebound. Both did spectacularly with career seasons. Voracek scored 85 points, flirted with the league lead in assists and provided an excellent linemate to help prized rookie Patrick. He handled everything that the Flyers asked of him and provided more.

What do we expect from this player next season?

Continued elite level production and being a play driver of the first level. Voracek will remain a top notch playmaker and absolute beast along the boards in the offensive zone and pull off jaw dropping stickhandling moves. He should continue with Patrick giving the Flyers a truly dangerous 2nd line for the first time since 2011 or so.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

Shooting at a more effective rate. Voracek is definitely a pass first player, but he’s also led the Flyers in shots the past two seasons. The trouble is, he hasn’t shot over 10% in three years. He’s inched closer after a dreadful 5.2% shooting season in 2015-16, but 8.8% does not a sniper make. Like any player that has the puck on his stick a lot, Voracek gets charged with a lot of turnovers. Some are the cost of doing business, but he is prone at times to making a really low percentage play and losing the puck unnecessarily.

Data via Corsica.hockey and Natural Stat Trick