With the 2016-17 season starting tonight, one non-rookie Flyer will placed under a slightly larger spotlight than they anticipated. Jake Voracek will look to rebound from a snakebitten 15-16 campaign where he only scored 11 goals after three straight 20 goal seasons, including the lockout shortened 2013 season.
So, the question becomes, what are the realistic expectations of Jake Voracek in 2016-17?
With the boxcar stats above, there is hope already found with just his goal scoring rate. Since the 2013 season, Voracek has scored 78 goals in 285 games or .347 goals per game, which translates to 28 goals per 82 games. This is backed up by his shooting percentage, a career 9.5%, which fits more in line with his 2013-14 to 2014-15 production than the outlying seasons of 2013 and 15-16. Based on the fact that Voracek has averaged 2.8 shots on goal per game in the same timeframe, and 2.9 in 2015-16, his last season looks more like an exception rather than expectation in terms of goal scoring. In fact, if Voracek had shot 10%, he’d have scored 21 goals last year, putting him right back at his previous seasons.
Via Own The Puck
As Voracek’s HERO chart shows, his possession numbers are still dominant which means his skill is likely there. As we know, he battled an injury last season, and like we’ve written about Matt Read on multiple occasions, that has to play into Voracek’s expectations. However, Jake is younger than Read, and therefore is more likely to fully heal from his injuries.
Given that the scoring expectations for right wings and left wings are virtually identical. Jake’s scoring expectations shouldn’t shift much regardless of how Dave Hakstol uses him.
In the interest on making a fair expectation, we’ve already established the 20-21 goal benchmark for goals by Voracek this upcoming season. For assists, it’s a bit harder to track, given his high rate of primary assists based on the HERO chart, he should once again fall into first line production on the rates again. Also, given his ability to drive possession, his teammates will gain more chances to score, which means his secondary assist totals could fluctuate as well. This means his primary point assist rate should get him around 27-33 assists, with secondary assists pushing him to the mid 40s. Assuming his shooting percentage variance is closer to his recent season, plus career regression, he’d be scoring 18-23 goals, Therefore, it’s not unreasonable for Voracek to find his way back to say a 20 goal 45 assist season in 2016-17.