Players to Watch Part One- Jakub Voracek
Kudos to Andy for coming up with a great idea- over the next while we are going to alternate writing a post on a current CBJ player, we are going to outline expectations for the upcoming season and take a brief look into their recent history.
Part One: Jakub Voracek
As bad as the Jackets were last season, you could see Jake improving game by game. He was one of the few players who wasn't bounced around the lineup, he was virtually cemented in as the second line right winger. Last season he put up 16 goals, 34 assists for fifty points. That was a twelve point increase over his rookie year the season before. It should also be noted that in his first two seasons, he has only missed a combined three games.
If you look at his two years playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, he had combined totals of 56G-131A-187PTS. He'll never be a sniper, he's a playmaker who thinks pass-first. He needs guys who can score playing on his line. He has the ability to be a consistent 80-point scorer, and it wouldn't be outrageous to think that this upcoming season, his third year, he could start to approach that total.
A player that Jake has often been compared to is Marian Hossa. Let's compare Hossa's first three seasons against the two that Jake has under his belt.
The similarities are there. Both players are playmaking wingers with size. Jake made the jump from 38 to 50 points, while Hossa went from 30 to 56 points. Hossa's third season of 75 points is the baseline I am using when making my prediction of Jake's numbers for 2010-2011:
2010 / 2011 Point Prediction: 23G-49A-72PTS
It may seem a little high, but if Nikita Filatov returns to the team and isn't traded, there stands a good chance that Jake will be playing with he and Brass on the second line. That's serious firepower, and with Brass and Jake entering their third seasons, you don't have to worry as much about the youth on the line. They are experienced NHLers now.
For the Jackets to be succesful and not only make the playoffs but go on a post-season run, Jake needs to be one of the best players. He has the talent to do that, but needs a finisher on his line. If not Filatov, could we see a move to left wing on the top line with Rick Nash?