The Philadelphia Flyers’ PP1 has the potential to improve further if Jake Voracek can be more selective with his shots.
After focusing on conditioning and 5-on-5 play for the first week of training camp, the Philadelphia Flyers’ attention has turned to special teams for this week of practice. The Flyers went 0 for 9 with the man advantage in Thursday’s preseason game against the Bruins, making the powerplay an obvious choice to dedicate time towards in practice. And in fairness, the powerplay wasn’t even that great last year. Their 19.5% conversion rate was only good enough for 14th-best in the league.
It’s easy to blame the Flyers’ second powerplay unit for this mediocrity, and rightfully so- they’ve been pretty bad. But fixing the second unit isn’t the only way to improve those numbers- the first unit has plenty of room to grow, too. If the Flyers can get PP1 operating at maximum efficiency, they won’t need the second unit to do much to return to the upper echelon of powerplay units. Changing Jakub Voracek’s mindset might be one way to do so.
That’s Voracek’s powerplay shooting percentage last season. In the words of Will Turner, that’s not good enough. This is made even more problematic by the fact that Voracek took more shots (88, to be precise) than any other Flyer with the man advantage, 12 more than the second-place Brayden Schenn.
And this isn’t a one-year anomaly, either. Voracek was even worse on the powerplay in 2015-16, posting an eye-searing 1.39% shooting percentage while once again leading all Flyers in shots taken.
To be fair, Voracek was an excellent power play shooter before his percentages took a plunge. But if this two-year trend starts to become a three-year trend, Voracek needs to dial it back in for the sake of the team. The most dangerous position in the Flyers’ powerplay system has always been the high slot, as evidenced by Schenn’s shooting percentage of 22.4% in the role last year. Why not feed Schenn’s replacement a few more chances?
Voracek is one of the stars of the team, and his spot on the wing of the powerplay unit is an important one. But taking fewer shots could prove to be large boost to the Flyers’ special teams, if he cannot regain his former effectiveness.
(Stats via ESPN and Natural Stat Trick)