The 2015-16 Philadelphia Flyers have not yet clicked offensively. They are averaging just two goals per game, which is 29th in the NHL. So far this has been unacceptable for a team that boasted two players with over 70 points last season.
What has killed the Flyers is a lack of production from key pieces like Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl. Those two players, who combined for 43 goals and 66 assists last season, have only accumulated one goal and six assists through 14 games in 2015-16. Voracek, who was one of the top five players in the league in terms of points last season, has struggled to find the back of the net this year while Raffl has scored just once.
Because of this extended slow start by Voracek and Raffl, fantasy hockey owners will begin, or have begun, to drop both players. Instead of joining this trend, now might be the time to buy low on these two players.
Both Michael Raffl and Jakub Voracek are shooting far below their career shooting percentage. These numbers must inevitably go up. The longer their drought goes on, the more dramatic that regression should be.
Voracek, who has a career shooting percentage of 9.8%, has zero goals despite registering 54 shots this season (and hitting at least one post). If he were shooting at 9.8% so far, he would have five goals to go along with his five assists. This is not to say that one should expect this shooting percentage to immediately rise, but it is impossible for a player who takes as many shots as Voracek to stay off of the score sheet for long. The dam is ready to break for Voracek, and you will want him on your team when it does.
Michael Raffl, who shoots at a career percentage of 11.6%, is in a similar boat to Voracek. He has taken 32 shots this season and only has one goal. Even if the 2015-16 season sees Raffl’s shooting percentage dip from his career average, he should still shoot better than 3%, his current rate. Raffl is averaging over two shots per game, so he will get his goals as his numbers regress to the norm.
Possession and Scoring Chances
When picking a fantasy hockey team, a players possession numbers do not initially seem relevant. Fantasy hockey only takes into account the tangible stats like goals and assists, right? So why look at Corsi?
Well, in the case of Voracek and Raffl those numbers are relevant. Those two have been the Flyers best two possession forwards this season. Raffl has a Corsi Rel % of +10.15% while Voracek is positive 9.65%. Also, both players have a raw Corsi of over 55%. So far, this possession dominance has not led to goals, but when two players carry over 55% of the shot share, they are bound to begin acquiring boatloads of points.
Similarly, both Voracek and Raffl have been dominating the scoring chance battle. They are on the ice for 53.68% and 515.18% of scoring chances respectively. These numbers just give quantifiable proof to what has been obvious while watching the Flyers: Both Voracek and Raffl are getting plenty of scoring chances.
They are snake bitten, plain and simple.
The Giroux Effect
One offensive bright spot for the Flyers this season has been their captain, Claude Giroux. Giroux has four goals and five assists through the season, with Voracek and Raffl on his wings.
Assuming Raffl and Voracek stay on Giroux’s line, more production will come. Giroux and Voracek are too talented to be kept off of the score sheet, and their playmaking ability is enough to make sure that Raffl scores plenty of goals.
However, even if the Flyers shake up their lines, the door should still be open for Raffl and Voracek. Assuming the Flyers split these players up, that will leave their opponents to pick their poison. Since Raffl and Voracek have been struggling, the opponent will surely place their best defensive unit up against Giroux. This would then open up scoring opportunities for Raffl and/or Voracek.
Ultimately, Voracek and Raffl are both valuable assets for a fantasy hockey team. Both players will rack up points as this season progresses. So while the rest of your league gets skeptical of these two players, buy low. You will not regret it.