clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2020-21 Player Review: The end of the Jakub Voracek experience

Analyzing the 10th and final season in Philadelphia for the high production Czech winger.

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Following a disappointing 2020-21 season that saw the Flyers miss out on the Stanley Cup playoffs, we knew the team was headed for change — and part of that change involved roster staple Jake Voracek.

Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher ended Voracek’s 727-game career in Orange and Black by sending the soon-to-be 32-year-old to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for winger Cam Atkinson. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Voracek, who was drafted seventh overall by the BJ’s back in 2007 before being sent to Philadelphia — along with a pick that became Sean Couturier — for Jeff Carter in 2011.

The trade put an end to a tremendous 10-year run for Voracek and the Flyers, and though the two were never able to get over the hump and win much of anything — many points (and Twitter blocks) were piled up along the way.

And 2020-21 was no different, as the Flyers missed the playoffs despite getting another great year in terms of production from the Czech winger with 43 points in 53 games. Voracek’s .81 points per game marked his fifth-best output and just a tick behind his average in a Flyers seater (.83).

While other parts of Voracek’s game have steadily declined in his early 30’s, there’s no denying that the man put up points in bunches over the course of his Flyers career.

By The Numbers

In terms of that production, we’ve been accustomed to seeing Voracek pile up points on the power play — but that wasn’t necessarily the case in 2020-21. The winger put just eight points on the man-advantage, failing to register a power play goal for the first time since way back in his first season in Philadelphia.

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
53 9 34 43 18 104 9%

But while power play production was down, Voracek enjoyed plenty of offense at even strength despite on-ice metrics falling below league average for the most part. He was outscored on at 5-on-5 despite winning the shot chance battle in terms of Corsi For, but was certainly victimized by a near team-worst 87% on-ice save percentage.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi For % Corsi For Relative GF% Expected Goals For % PDO
Corsi For % Corsi For Relative GF% Expected Goals For % PDO
51.94 -0.3 45.12% 48.47 0.98

His rates compared to his teammates were generally at or slightly above the median, but given Voracek’s high offensive zone start chances he should theoretically have distanced himself further from his mates. That’s along what we’ve seen over the past few years as Voracek has provided less in terms of defensive support as time has gone on.

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
2.9 1.2 6.96 0.69

Despite less-than-ideal metrics, Voracek continued to provide value on the scoresheet that transcended graphs and tables. Even during his peak, Voracek was never much of a metrics darling overall.

Three Questions

Did they live up to our expectations?

Would have to say that Voracek provided pretty much exactly what you’d expect of him at this stage of his career and in his age-31 season. He filled up the box score but contributed to largely another stale Flyers team that has become the norm over the last decade.

Though not singularly his fault, the Flyers’ brass went out to shake up the mix in the room and landed on Voracek as being one of the small handful of players they were more than willing to part with in order to get after a different look.

Where expectations would fall short is in terms of the intrinsic value that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. Voracek has always seemed to be a model of inconsistent consistency throughout his Flyers career. For stretches that could be as little as a few shifts to periods to game stretches, Voracek would look like one of the forces in the league. Then, almost as quickly, he’d disappear for stretches that called into question effort, drive, and desire.

And while Voracek essentially met our expectations for 2020-21, he again left much to be desired — which is pretty much been the Jake Voracek experience since he arrived.

What do we/can we expect next season?

Well he’s off to Columbus for that matter, but it will certainly be interesting to see how his game ages as he approaches his age-32 season back where it all started with the BJ’s.

Certainly his place in the lineup and prominently on the power play will result in the production we’ve come to expect — and count on — over the years. The bigger question would be how the trade shakes out early on with the Flyers going for a different mix with the Atkinson swap and going for a leadership tweak.

How would you grade their 2020-21 season?

Voracek always gave the Flyers some juice offensively — and last season was no different — but it did feel a lot like empty offense in terms of impact on the bigger picture. It’s safe to say that the feisty Atkinson will certainly bring the Flyers more consistent energy, if at the trade off of a bit of offensive production.

It’s the end of an era, and while the timing feels right for both sides, it still hits pretty hard knowing that the Flyers won’t have No. 93 out that’s effective and not Nikolai Zherdev. Given everything he brought to the table this season, it’s fair to give Voracek a solid B to round out his very, very solid Flyers career.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference unless otherwise noted.