clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2018-19 Player Review: Jakub Voracek

We asked Jake to write this, but he passed.

2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series - Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Since it is only the first day of July, there is a chance Jakub Voracek will not be on the Philadelphia Flyers the next time the team plays a meaningful game. However, with the 2019 NHL Entry Draft behind us and seemingly the only need for Chuck Fletcher at the moment is a middle-six winger, it seems likely that the Flyer who has been traded the most on social media over the last few seasons will be with the team in the Czech Republic when the 2019-20 season opens for the Orange and Black.

Voracek’s season featured a few high points, such as his five-point game against the Ottawa Senators a day after Philly’s embarrassing home opener and a power move over a week later to finish off a three-point performance in a 3-2 home win over the New Jersey Devils. He had more positive highlights throughout this past season, but his detractors will point out how with each passing season it feels as though Voracek passes up more wide-open shots and backchecks even less. For a pass-first forward that often carries the puck through all three zones with a $8.25 million cap hit for the next five years, it’s easy to understand why Voracek might be the skater fans point to the most when it comes to trading away a core piece. Considering the term left on his deal and the direction his play-driving abilities may be heading over the next few seasons, should Fletcher and company start to take a harder look at dealing Voracek?

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIMs Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIMs Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
78 20 46 66 25 210 9.5


5v5 Individual Stats

Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
1.87 1.37 12.58 0.57

via Corsica/Natural Stat Trick

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi for % SA-Corsi Relative Score-Adjusted Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi for % SA-Corsi Relative Score-Adjusted Expected Goals For SA-Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
47.59 0.02 49.74 1.79 44.76 98.31

via Corsica/Natural Stat Trick

Despite missing a few games, Voracek still managed to hit 20 goals and 65 points. His 210 shots on goal was the lowest total he had for a single season since the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, but his individual shot attempts-per-60-rate of 12.58 wasn’t dramatically lower than usual. Things didn’t look quite there for Voracek all season, but his basic stats for 2018-19 don’t illustrate that point fully.

Neither did his scoring rates. Voracek’s 1.87 points-per-60 rate and 1.37 primary points-per-60 rate at 5-on-5 were around his career averages while his 0.57 individual expected goals for-per-60 rate at 5-on-5 was his highest since 0.61 in 2015-16 and his 0.66 goals-per-60 at 5-on-5 is his highest rate since 0.80 back in 2013-14.

As for his underlying numbers, there might be some cause for concern. Voracek’s 48.40 Corsi-For percentage and 49.38 Fenwick for percentage this season were his lowest for an entire season at 5-on-5 in his NHL career. After a 55.17 CF percentage for the 2013-14 season, Voracek has seen a slight decrease to his CF percentage at 5-on-5 every single year. He’s had a relative CF of 2.32 or better in three of those seasons, so his drop in CF percentage isn’t entirely on him, but he can definitely be better than what he did this year in terms of carrying linemates and pushing play.

Voracek’s numbers on the power play weren’t as great as they have been in recent years, but he probably shouldn’t get all of the blame for that development. His four power-play goals were his fewest since he had one (1) in 2015-16 and his 14 assists on the man advantage is his lowest total since the 2013 season. Obviously we’d like to see more from Voracek here, but Kris Knoblauch’s willingness to try ah not-that-great solutions for the team’s power play woes and Shayne Gostisbehere’s knee perhaps limiting his abilities to dance and deal at the point kind of made it hard on a lot of things involving the Flyers’ power play this past season.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?
No. He had 20 goals, but he (whether or not it’s entirely his fault) wasn’t as big a threat on the power play and seemingly had far fewer dynamic, multi-zone plays we can often expect out of Voracek. Inconsistency and taking the occasional backcheck off are common complaints from those who don’t like Voracek, but even in his ‘other off seasons’ these two traits of his weren’t as easily noticeable as they were this past season. Who knows if the Flyers draining season off the ice hit certain players certain ways on the ice, but I think it’s safe to say we expect more out of Voracek and it’s safe to way we’ll see more from Voracek next season.

What do we expect from this player next season?
Something closer to what he provided during the 2017-18 campaign. We know Voracek will be used in the top six and most likely on the top power-play unit next season. We also know he’s only 29, so Voracek’s career trajectory shouldn’t be taking an immediate nosedive this season. Barring an unforeseen injury or if he somehow falls out of favor with Alain Vigneault quickly, Voracek should provide another 55-assist, 70-point season where he is above 50 percent again in key underlying stats. Even if we want to pretend Voracek’s career is nothing more than a roller coaster of point production where he has one strong year followed by one bad year next season is supposed to be his good season.

What would we like to see this player improve on?
Selfishness. Voracek creates so many offensive chances out of nowhere to only have fans yell at him because he was trying to be a good teammate. Leading an odd-man rush through the neutral zone, the second man in a three-pass play in the offensive zone, or when he has the puck in the slot are all the times we have seen Voracek decide to pass up a shot. Is he going to score on every single shot he takes in these situations? Of course not, but perhaps he puts a few of those on net and become goals? A 25-goal season might help Voracek eliminate some of his nay-sayers. Hell, if things work out right a Voracek shot may lead to a rebound for another Flyer to score meaning Voracek did in fact shoot the puck and he got an assist, so everyone wins!