Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.
This week’s tire pumpee: Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
The 22-year-old has seven points in his last four games, a stretch that began with a 3-point night against his old team, Columbus, on Nov. 5.
In case you forgot, Voracek was traded by the Blue Jackets to the Flyers in June along with a first-round pick (Sean Couturier) and a third-rounder, with Jeff Carter and his enormous contract coming back the other way.
Voracek admits he wants to show the Jackets they made a mistake by giving up on him. The seventh-overall pick from 2007 hasn’t forgotten his conditioning being called into question at the end of last season by Columbus coach Scott Arniel.
“I don’t think it’s right to talk about it in the papers,” Voracek told the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month. “It is what he said, but I have to disagree with him. I went to the (IIHF) world championships last year and I felt great – all tournament, which was almost in the end of May. It was a long season for me as well, and physically I felt great. But sometimes if you play bad, it doesn’t mean you’re out of shape. Like I said, it is what it is and I’ve got a new NHL life here.”
Voracek’s been skating on the right side of Philadelphia’s third line with Max Talbot in the middle and Matt Read on the left.
Here we see Voracek turning a puck over and feeding Talbot for the Flyers’ second goal in last night’s 5-3 victory over Carolina:
Jakub Voracek, everyone.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.