Jakub Voracek is having quite the weird season for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Entering play on Saturday he has been one of the top-playmakers in the NHL in terms of setting up goals for his linemates. His 43 assists for the season are 20th in the NHL, while he is averaging 2.44 assists per 60 minutes of ice-time (all situations) a number that places him 12th in the NHL, sandwiched directly between Sidney Crosby and Nikita Kucherov. Drill down even further, and his 1.76 primary assists per 60 minutes is so good that he currently ranks fifth in the entire NHL.
Those are great numbers, and still make him one of the best playmakers in the league.
There is just one noticeable flaw to his game right now: He does not actually score goals anymore, finding the back of the net just four times on 117 shots on goal in 67 games for the Blue Jackets.
The goal-to-assist ratio is one of the most lopsided ones we have seen in NHL history.
Prior to this season there have only been seven forwards that logged at least 40 assists in a season while scoring eight goals or less.
- Nicklas Backstrom (2012-13 Washington Capitals): 8 goals, 40 assists (in only 48 games)
- Jozef Stumpel (2001-02 Los Angeles Kings/Boston Bruins): 8 goals 50 assists
- Terry Ruskowski (1980-81 Chicago Blackhawks): 8 goals, 51 assists
- Mike Ribeiro (2015-16 Nashville Predators): 7 goals, 43 assists
- Joe Thornton (2016-17 San Jose Sharks): 7 goals, 43 assists
- Walt McKechnie (1979-80 Toronto Maple Leafs/Colorado Rockies): 7 goals, 40 assists
- Henrik Sedin (2017-18 Vancouver Canucks): 3 goals, 47 assists
Then there is Voracek, on track to join them unless he goes on some kind of a goal scoring binge over the next 20 games. Given the way this season gone, and the past two seasons for that matter, that seems unlikely.
Since the start of the 2020-21 season Voracek has just 13 goals and 77 assists in 115 games. He is one of just 18 forwards in the league to have at least 70 assists during that stretch. His 13 goals are by far — by far! — the lowest total. Blake Wheeler, who has 25 goals in only 102 games, is the next lowest, while Anze Kopitar (29 goals) is the only other in that group under 30 goals.
Voracek was never a huge goal scorer in his career but he was always at least a 20-goal scorer during his peak. But the combination of getting older, a declining shot volume, and a plummeting shooting percentage has all helped contribute to his drop in goal scoring.
Despite that he is still a useful player that can help drive the Blue Jackets’ offense. It has just produced the type of stat line we do not usually see. Or ever really see.