Frozen Pool Forensics: Jakub Voracek

by Cam Robinson on November 6, 2015

Will Voracek's slump last the whole season, or is he still a fantasy hockey superstar?

First things first, I’d like to congratulate Dobber and all of the writers and staff on the 10-year anniversary. It’s a fantastic accomplishment and the way this site is heading, there will be many more anniversaries to come. I’d also like to recognize all of you faithful readers and contributors. Without your passion, none of this would be able to happen. You make us relevant. Thank you.

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November has arrived and with it comes the second month of the NHL season. For some players, it’s a chance to continue fast starts and maintain positions at the top of the NHL scoring list. For others, and it seems like more than usual this year, it’s a chance to wipe the slate and start fresh after a disastrous start to the 2015-16 campaign. For Jakub Voracek, it’s the latter. The high-flying Czech winger was out-of-this-world for the Flyers last season, racking up 81 points in 82 games en route to a fourth-place finish in the Art Ross Trophy race. His 59 assists were second only to Nicklas Backstrom, and his 33 power-play points were third best in the league. Together with his partner in crime, Claude Giroux, Voracek got off to an incredible start posting 15 points through 10 October games, propelling him to a career season. This season has not gone so smoothly. We’re 12 games in and he has yet to record a goal while assisting on just four others, all the while posting a minus-four rating, a five-on-five shooting percentage of 2.86 and a PDO of 981. What gives?

Voracek teased fantasy owners for years with his high draft slot, tantalizing skill-set and fantastic hockey hair. Upon landing in Philadelphia for 2011-12 season, Voracek finally had a premier set-up man to ride shotgun with and the possibilities seemed bright. He and Giroux have delivered, blossoming into one of the leagues more formidable duos and they hardly spend any time apart on the ice. Using Dobber’s Frozen Pool Line Mates Tool, we can see just how much time to two have spent together.
 

2014-15 EVEN STRENGTH LINE COMBINATIONS

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

34.61%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – RAFFL,MICHAEL – VORACEK,JAKUB

30.95%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

6.98%

EV

COUTURIER,SEAN – READ,MATT – VORACEK,JAKUB

3.83%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – VORACEK,JAKUB

3.22%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – VORACEK,JAKUB

2.53%

EV

BELLEMARE,PIERRE-EDOUARD – VANDEVELDE,CHRIS – VORACEK,JAKUB

2.37%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – READ,MATT – VORACEK,JAKUB

2015-16 Even Strength Line Combinations

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

63.3%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – RAFFL,MICHAEL – VORACEK,JAKUB

4.61%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

4.51%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – READ,MATT – VORACEK,JAKUB

3.86%

EV

GIROUX,CLAUDE – VORACEK,JAKUB

2.47%

EV

LAUGHTON,SCOTT – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

2.25%

EV

LAUGHTON,SCOTT – READ,MATT – VORACEK,JAKUB

Last season, Voracek spent over 80% of his even-strength time with Giroux providing exceptional results. This year, new bench boss Dave Hakstol has tried to jump start his two offensive dynamos by splitting them up for brief periods of time, sending Voracek down to play with Brayden Schenn on the second line. Luckily for Voracek owners, the experiment has not lasted long, but unfortunately it has not lit a fire either.

Some positive signs for disgruntled owners is that Voracek has seen his overall ice time rise to 19:17 – up from 18:35 last season. Additionally, his power play time has remained ample as he sees 3:16 per game. However, the biggest sign of good things to come has to be the pure volume of shots that Jakub is generating. Through 12 games, he has fired 50 shots on net (4.16 per game), good for seventh best in the league, in front of mass-shooters Steven Stamkos and Max Pacioretty.

With a career shooting percentage of 9.8, and on pace for nearly 350 shots this season, the goals simply must come. If he maintains his shooting pace, and manages to score on even 8.5 percent of his remaining shots, Voracek would reach a new career high for goals with 25. All this while being ice-cold through the first dozen games.

Droughts to start a season are always magnified; if a player goes cold through February after a decent start, the pressure is far less severe. Unfortunately – or fortunately depending on which side you’re on, fantasy owners are not immune to making rash decisions on struggling assets, however those of you lucky enough to own this 26-year-old would be best served to sit tight and wait, because it is not often a player with this much skill will be held down long and when the flood gates do open, it would not be surprising to see him play out the final 70 games at a near point-per-game pace.