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Hockey Analytics

Jakub Voracek: The Outsider

by Gus Katsaros
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Unbelievable as it may sound, Jakub Voracek has yet to score a goal in regulation time in 2015-16. He broke his goalless funk with an overtime marker against the Carolina Hurricanes scored at 3v3.

 

Going back into 2014-15 he has scored six goals in the 41 games prior to 2015-16. In 18 games this season, the lone marker is goal number seven in the past 69 games.

 

The scoring woes originated in 2014-15, with a depressed second half firing at a 5.88% overall shooting percentage and falling significantly off the 32-goal first half  pace (12.85% sh%). By the end of the season, he was scoring at a fourth line pace (0.47 G/60 slightly under the 0.49 fourth line threshold).

 

The trend continues in ’15-16 with depressed shots generation, dropping at 5v5 but increasing at 5v4. Zeros flash across his personal shooting percentage in the table below that also includes personal shooting percentage (PSH%) and a low on-ice shooting percentage (OSh%) at 5v5 and slightly below league average 5v4 completion rate.

 

He’s earned a point on 83% of the 5v5 goals scored which begs the question, in 261 minutes, the Flyers have only scored six goals with the Czech on the ice, or a goal every 43 elapsed minutes.

 

 

 SF60

 

  PSh%

 

  OSh%

 

Season

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

201314

33.75

63.97

7.82

8.33

8.06

17.24

201415

30.31

59.50

6.67

19.38

7.88

19.86

201516

29.69

71.26

0.00

0.00

4.44

12.55

The Flyers 5v4 power play isn’t producing as well as ’14-15, generating 5.48 GF/60 after a career high of 10.003 in ‘14-15, along with the significant drop in GF60 at 5v5 (1.379 down from 2.493 in ’14-15). The contrast is an increase in on-ice per 60 shot rates in both game situations. The Flyers in general are not scoring much these days.

 

Filtering down to scoring chances with data courtesy of www.War-On-Ice.com there’s an early season trend of rising high danger and scoring chance rates, both at the team and individual level that isn’t reflected in the on-ice percentages.

 

At 5v4, his individual high danger scoring chances have almost doubled his 2014-15 value, yet on-ice chances have decreased. The increase in HD danger scoring chances is new, however his overall individual scoring chances haven’t increased in either game states.

 

  iHSC

 

  HSCF

 

  iSC

 

  SCF

 

  PSh%

 

  OSh%

 

Season

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

5v5

5v4

201314

0.697

0.146

2.35

1.52

1.775

0.820

6.32

3.40

8.65

9.57

7.71

17.15

201415

0.768

0.136

2.75

1.71

1.793

0.716

7.23

3.60

6.67

19.38

7.88

19.86

201516

0.824

0.235

3.01

1.55

1.706

1.118

6.88

3.40

0.00

0.00

4.44

12.55

Individual scoring chances at 5v4, increased significantly while overall on-ice scoring chances produced a small downtick. As a result, Voracek’s earned one secondary assist in just over 54 minutes, accounting for a point on 25% of the Philadelphia goals scored with Voracek on the ice.

 

War-on-ice.com uses some nifty visualizations for a variety of parameterized inputs and I urge you to explore these when doing your own research or just to answer curiosity. Using the parameters to create a chart, this displays on-ice high danger scoring chances along the x-axis and on-ice scoring chances along the y-axis. Color represents on-ice shots for as the percentage of total, while the color represents on-ice goals for per 60 for each of Voracek’s NHL seasons.

It’s not like there’s a significant enough change in scoring chances year over year. The increase in high danger chances is evident here though, despite the lack of goals scored.

 

Outside the Dots

 

I’ve considered Jakub Voracek to be the best ‘outside the dots’ forward in today’s NHL. The Czech’s tendencies lean towards maneuvering outside the faceoff dots with a fantastic wide-track skating ability and agility. Zone entries and puck control are both influenced by this outside approach, but it can have repercussions. Scoring is highly concentrated to the middle of the ice, and the longer he doesn’t occupy that space, the more difficult it is to produce the offensive results required. Sticking to the outside requires finishing ability or further playmaking ability by teammates, taking scoring potential out of his control and fated in the hands of his teammates.

 

In theory, Voracek and the Flyers are an excellent example of the concept of line chemistry. Philadelphia could ice three distinct skillsets on a forward line that encompass a balanced approach with each component contributing to the ultimate end, scoring.

 

Voracek as the best outside track player, Wayne Simmonds is one of the better net and crease presences and Claude Giroux can carve through defense pairing, using playmaking ability to utilize his linemates. But they don’t line up together very much.

 

According to puckalytics.com Super WOWY functionality, the trio has skated together for 44:48 in 2015-16, earning a 50% GF% on a 3.9% on-ice shooting percentage. In 2015-16, they’ve been together just over one minute.

Flyers Line ’14-15

TOI

GF

GA

GF60

GA60

Sh%

Sv%

PDO

CF60

CA60

CF%

2014-15

44:48

1

1

1.34

1.34

3.9

94.7

98.6

65.6

44.2

60

2015-16

1:06

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

54.6

164

25

JAKUB VORACEK*

1110:32

47

34

2.54

1.84

8.1

93.3

101

60.9

53.1

53

CLAUDE GIROUX*

1176:28

43

40

2.19

2.04

7.1

92.6

99.8

60.9

54.5

53

WAYNE SIMMONDS*

913:06

31

30

2.04

1.97

7.5

93.1

101

53.5

53.4

50

Zone Entries

 

Voracek clearly likes to carry the puck through the neutral zone and leads the Flyers perennially in zone entries. Part of the outside tendency begins here, carrying the puck into the offensive zone.

 

Using the invaluable Cory Sznajder’s All Three Zones – zone entry project, he tracked every game in 2013-14 and 2014-15 data was captured here on the Pattison Ave blog by Jess Schmidt (also known as @2_for_slashing on twitter.

 

According to both sources, Voracek bested the 16.9 Carry-ins per 60 in 2013-14  with 19.9 in ’14-15 and entering the zone slight more than in 2013-14 (26.6 versus 25.4). He also improved his failed entry percentage, to 8.3% down from 9.0% in 2013-14 while recording the least amount of failed entries among the top 20 listed by carry-in per 60. He’s clearly a solid option at controlled zone entries.

 

Among Flyers peers in 2013-14 he ranked the highest with 44 failed entries, on top of team high 447 entries – 210 from carry-ins. He carried the puck essentially two-thirds of the time into the offensive zone. Wayne Simmonds, a comparable forward in entries (435), dumped the puck into the zone 230 times compared to Voracek’s 149. Simmonds dumping leads to more puck battles to either retrieve the puck behind the goal line, a part of the ice for which he can be very effective.

 

Voracek leans towards the outside and veers pucks into the scoring area. While he is willing to get into dirty areas, he’s more selective in that regard.

 

We can also track these tendencies using Ryan Stimson’s passing project data

 

ROYAL ROAD

 

The Royal Road was introduced by ex-NHL goaltender Steve Valiquette. There’s plenty of information in the link to go through, but for this purpose, the Royal Road is the middle from the crease on up through to the top of the face off circles. Stimson and his crew only started tracking these types of passes for half a season in 2014-15 so the data isn’t fully complete. We can, however, explore this data set further.

 

Voracek ranks eighth among Flyers averaging 2.635 RR/60 attempts, significantly lower than the 4.41 Flyers average and 3.233 NHL average. He doesn’t make a lot of cross-ice passes through the royal road.

Players

RRC60

RRS60

28 CLAUDE GIROUX

11.248

5.624

24 MATT READ

6.464

4.309

17 WAYNE SIMMONDS

5.968

5.968

78 PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE

3.901

3.901

76 CHRIS VANDEVELDE

3.963

3.963

14 SEAN COUTURIER

5.085

2.543

10 BRAYDEN SCHENN

5.146

2.573

93 JAKUB VORACEK

2.635

2.635

18 R.J. UMBERGER

1.505

1.505

12 MICHAEL RAFFL

1.934

0.000

NHL averages for the half season are shown below as reference taken from Stimson’s passing data for the latter half of 2014-15. Values here are individual rural road attempts (iRRC) and shots (iRRS) along with one timers – attempts (i1TC), shots (i1TS) and goals (i1TG).

iRRC

iRRS

i1TC

i1TS

i1TG

3.233

2.04

8.74

4.47

0.60

The average NHL one-timer attempt rate for tracked players is 8.74. Voracek attempted only one recorded instance.

 

In the table below, Voracek ranks fairly low in individual royal road attempts. Turning the attention to the iTransC column at the end, we see Voracek ranking second behind Brayden Schenn. The category measures shots generated in transition – with the pass preceding the shot being made prior to zone entry. The NHL average among forwards was 6.15 making his 11 attempts almost double the league average.

 

Players

 TOI

 iSC

 iSCS

 iRRC

 iRRS

 i1TC

 i1TS

 i1TG

 iTransC

28 CLAUDE GIROUX

168.72

15

11

4

2

8

5

3

9

24 MATT READ

129.28

5

3

3

2

2

2

0

8

17 WAYNE SIMMONDS

119.36

8

8

3

3

0

0

0

9

78 PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE

117.04

4

3

2

2

4

3

1

3

76 CHRIS VANDEVELDE

118.88

4

4

2

2

1

1

0

4

14 SEAN COUTURIER

152.56

5

3

2

1

2

1

0

8

10 BRAYDEN SCHENN

154.37

6

4

2

1

2

2

0

12

93 JAKUB VORACEK

158.09

2

1

1

1

1

0

0

11

18 R.J. UMBERGER

90.28

4

3

1

1

1

0

0

4

 

Voracek doesn’t make the cross ice passes from the outside as his rural road data confirms, but he does seem to make a lot of passes from the outside into the home plate area outlining the scoring chance area.

 

In fact, Voracek led the NHL with a 4.63 rate of shots per 60 from passes made into the scoring chance area, while leading in shot attempt generation by a significant margin, generating over seven shot attempts per 60 minutes.

 

Row Labels

 5v5 TOI Total

SC SAG/60

  SC SG/60

Jakub Voracek

310.68

7.72

4.63

Sidney Crosby

351.03

4.96

3.42

Ryan Johansen

321.13

4.48

3.36

Jonathan.Toews

1108.54

4.93

3.19

Nicklas Backstrom

1254.51

4.73

3.06

 

Outside the dots players can be quite effective if they use their tool kits to create scoring chances and supporting the play by getting into more scoring areas, rather than selective forays using stealth.

 

But if Voracek wants to increase his own scoring potential, he has to start veering into higher traffic areas and get a little dirty. Taking the steps to get into high danger scoring areas is the right step to aid in the transformation into productivity.

Gus Katsaros
Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog MapleLeafsHotStove.com ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey