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2018-19 Player Review: A rocky start for Mikhail Vorobyev

*sad trombone noise*

Heather Barry / SB Nation

We did a lot of talking last offseason about the Flyers’ one center vacancy to fill in training camp, and wondered which prospect might be able to fill in there. And, after looking solid in his rookie season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Mikhail Vorobyev came into training camp hell bent, it seems, on earning himself a spot on the Flyers’ opening night roster. And the good news? He looked positively dominant in those exhibition games, and was able to do just that, earning himself a spot on the team out of camp (no small feat for a prospect!). But the bad news? He sort of fizzled out after that. But let’s have a deeper look a that after.

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
15 1 1 2 2 10 10

There’s not really a whole lot going on here. Vorobyev played 15 games in a fourth line role, and this isn’t exactly a context where you would expect him to just be racking up all of the points, but still, two points in 15 games isn’t stellar. But the even more concerning number is that shot total of 10. We know Vorobyev for the strength of his defensive game—at least at the AHL level—and haven’t seen him step up as an offensive dynamo, but he really wasn’t contributing much offensively here.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi For% SA Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM SA Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi For% SA Corsi Relative Corsi For % RelTM SA Expected Goals Relative Goals For % PDO
41.09 -8.51 -5.97 -15.3 60.02 104.71

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
0.95 0.48 6.2 0.37

Looking at these advanced metrics, there’s really no other way to spin them, they’re not very good. It is still a relatively small sample, but the Flyers were getting pretty well buried by shots and shot attempts while Vorobyev was on the ice, while not generating a whole lot in the way of offense themselves. Relative to both the league and team averages, Vorobyev’s numbers grade out poorly. The curious piece is that they were, however, outscoring their opponents with Vorobyev on the ice, but the high on-ice save percentage suggests that over a larger sample, perhaps, they were due for a bit of regression. But, in short, these underlying numbers don’t paint a very pretty picture of Vorobyev’s NHL debut, certainly leave something to be desired.

Three Burning Questions

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

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to give this one a no. Vorobyev had a stellar training camp and pre-season, and he absolutely deserved to make the team out of camp, but unfortunately, he lost some steam after that, and couldn’t seem to find a rhythm at the NHL level, in that first stretch of games or the subsequent mid-season recall. Maybe we expected him to come down a little bit after the camp he had, but we also expected that he might be able to carve out a consistent NHL role for himself. And that just didn’t happen this season.

What do we expect from this player next season?

It’s hard to say, in a way, because we don’t exactly know where he’s going to end up next season. The Flyers suddenly have an excess of centers, and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if Vorobyev started the season back with the Phantoms. If this is the case, we expect him to work to take the next step forward in his development and start to look like he’s really dominating in the AHL. We’ve seen it in flashes, but he hasn’t really been able to tap into it on a consistent basis. This, then, would hopefully allow him to be more prepared for when he’s called upon to make his return to the NHL, and then he can work on establishing some consistency there. But, you know, baby steps.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

We alluded to this in the last section, but the big thing we’d like to see Vorobyev improve on is his consistency. Even in his time with the Phantoms, he struggled to bring the same level of intensity from game to game and even shift to shift. This seems to be something that the team also wants to work on with him, so this seems to be towards the top of their list of priorities. The other piece, and this might be something of a nitpick, is that we would like to see him shooting the puck more. The defensive side of his game is coming along nicely, and he’s proven himself an excellent play maker at the AHL level, but he’s also got one heck of a shot, and we’d like to see him use it more. He only registered 13 shot attempts in his 15 games with the Flyers. We’d like to see him trying to kick in a bit more on the offensive side. He certainly has the skillset for it.

All stats via Corsica.Hockey, HockeyDB, and Natural Stat Trick