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2019-20 Player Review: Are the Flyers done with Mikhail Vorobyev?

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His career in North America might not have a bright future, but he was certainly here.

Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers were lucky when it came to injuries last season. Their Injured Reserve list was a blank sheet, left for depth players to get the odd bump and miss a few games. The group of top-six forwards was left relatively unscathed and because of that, their lines remained somewhat solid throughout one of the best campaigns in recent memory.

Because that group of forwards had their status within the team unquestioned game-to-game, there was limited opportunity to get a really good sense at some depth organization players. It’s not an unfortunate circumstance — the better players got to play more, that’s pretty good — but those curious to see what lesser known forwards were able to do with a larger role, were left wondering.

One of those forwards that got some depth time but were left on the outside looking in for the majority of the time, was Mikhail Vorobyev.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIMs Shots On Goal Shooting Percentage Average Time on Ice
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIMs Shots On Goal Shooting Percentage Average Time on Ice
20 1 2 3 6 15 6.7 10:26

Well, there it is. Vorobyev was able to rack up a total of 20 games at the beginning of the season and was cast away to Lehigh Valley in mid-January and you can see why he wasn’t given a chance in the postseason bubble.

Although he wasn’t given many shifts, what he did with those few opportunities is lacking. A single goal, a couple of assists and a handful of shots on goal. His most common linemates were Chris Stewart and Tyler Pitlick, so it’s a mixed bag when it comes to the players he was on the ice with.

There’s not a whole lot to dive deep into, but for his 2019-20 season with the Phantoms, Vorobyev was able to score 12 goals and earn 28 points, good for fourth in scoring amongst his teammates. It wasn’t a total lost North American season, but we were certainly left wanting a little bit more from a depth player that has shown some offensive ability in his past.

5v5 Individual Stats

Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0.31 0.94 8.46 0.25

Sometimes when you take into consideration the player’s time-on-ice, you get some wacky high numbers for forwards that haven’t seen a lot of ice. Vorobyev is not one of those forwards.

His 0.94 points-per-hour placed him just ahead of defenseman Matt Niskanen (0.92) at 20th on the Flyers. Considering that a blueliner that played more than five times the minutes at 5-on-5 — in a somewhat shutdown role — was able to sustain almost the same level of point production than Vorobyev, is concerning.

There’s not a whole lot of straws to grab at, even when it comes to expected goals, the 23-year-old was not able to get any significant high-danger chances throughout his season. When he was on the ice, the opposing team was usually the better one,

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi For% Corsi For% Rel. Expected Goals For% Expected Goals For% Rel. Goals For% PDO
Corsi For% Corsi For% Rel. Expected Goals For% Expected Goals For% Rel. Goals For% PDO
45.88 -5.3 35.73 -14.51 31.25 95.1

A table that essentially is the Drake meme, except it’s the first panel over and over again until you see the PDO, Vorobyev was clearly a liability while he was on the ice for Philadelphia this season.

You can sprinkle the Triple-S dust (Small Sample Size) as much as you want over your love for the young forward, but it will still look like a decaying pile of on-ice statistics. The Flyers were simply worse with him on the ice and he took chances away from his linemates. Getting hemmed in your own zone at the sake of giving opportunity to a post-hype prospect might not be the best decision to make in the future for a Cup-hopeful team.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to expectations this season?

The only problem with expectations is if there were any to begin with. Of course you want your young players with some AHL experience to get better and look good while they play in a depth role on the bigger stage, but it’s still not at the front of mind for most of us.

I’d rather hope for a wild Claude Giroux game than to say “wow, Vorobyev looked good tonight,” as I make my way home half in the bag after a 5-3 loss to the Panthers — or something like that.

With all that said, he still disappointed most who viewed him in Lehigh Valley and saw some promise of a depth player at the NHL level.

What do we expect from this player next season?

Well, it depends how the fans of Salavat Yulaev Ufa feel. Vorobyev signed a three-year deal with the KHL team this summer and is currently over there being more productive than he was in a Flyers jersey.

With four goals and nine points through 21 games, it looks like he’s found a home amongst other former NHL players like defenseman Philip Larsen and forwards such as Markus Granlund and Nikita Soshnikov. So I’m not sure if we can really expect any more coming from Vorobyev since he might just go make more money playing in the KHL for the rest of his career.

Is this goodbye?

What would we like to see this player improve on?

I’m dying to meet anyone that is still holding on to the hope of Vorobyev becoming a depth player for the Flyers. Watching his development in the KHL with illegal streams, screen recording every goal and penciling him in to the 2023-24 championship roster.

At least he’s found somewhere to still be a professional hockey player, so there’s that.

*Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, NHL.com, Hockey-Reference, and Evolving Hockey.