Quick thought on Jakub Voracek
One of the surprise player performances so far this season is that of Jakub Voracek. Voracek currently sits tied for 7th in points with 10 goals and 27 points in 24 games. That puts him on pace to score 54 points in this lock-out shortened 48 game season which is 4 points more than he has scored in any 82 game season (career best was 50 points in 2009-10 in 81 games).
Last season when Rick Nash was on the trade block I wrote an article about Nash and in it I had a few comments about Jakub Voracek as part of a WOWY analysis. Here is what I wrote:
Nash played best when he was paired up with Voracek and Brassard and only Voracek, Brassard and Huselius made Nash a better offensive player when playing with him. Vermette, Umberger and Malhotra were drags on his offensive numbers. When playing apart, Voracek’s numbers are better than Nash’s. Same for Brassard’s (who is doing it again this year, 0.782 GF20 vs Nash’s 0.613 when apart). As an aside, the numbers suggest that Voracek is a very good offensive player and it was probably a big mistake to trade him. It also suggest that the Flyers aren’t getting full value from him by playing him primarily with Maxime Talbot. If someone acquired Voracek and put him in the right situations, he could be the next Joffrey Lupul.
Voracek wasn’t traded but the departure of James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr opened up some spots on the top two lines and Voracek got a promotion from playing mostly with Talbot to playing with Claude Giroux and getting lots of powerplay time. The results of that move are, as I predicted, very Joffrey Lupul like. Lupul put up solid but unspectacular numbers while mostly been given second line minutes and secondary power play minutes for the majority of his career. Lupul’s numbers looked unspectacular but were actually quite good considering his usage as a secondary offensive player and the quality of line mates he played with. When Lupul came to Toronto and was put on a line with another elite offensive player, given first line minutes, and first power play unit minutes, he started putting up high end offensive numbers. It wasn’t so much that Lupul had a break out season or that he had a career year, its more than he was finally given an opportunity to play with top end talent and given first line minutes. The exact same thing happened with Voracek. He put up solid numbers while given secondary minutes in secondary offensive roles and just needed to be given a chance to prove his worth as a first line player with quality line mates. Now he has been given that chance and the results are clear. He is a high end offensive talent.