PHT Morning Skate: Penguins in for eventful summer


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Pittsburgh Penguins might be very busy this summer. Not including those inked to entry-level deals, the only Penguins players signed through at least the 2014-15 campaign are Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Paul Martin, and Marc-Andre Fleury. (

A look at where the Columbus Blue Jackets stand defensively going into the summer. (Columbus Dispatch)

The 2013 Stanley Cup finals have the potential to be a fierce series. (CSN Chicago)

With the Boston Bruins reaching the Stanley Cup finals, this seems like a good time to look back on the trade that sent goaltender Tuukka Rask from Toronto to Boston. According to recent reports, the Bruins were willing to take now 27-year-old netminder Justin Pogge — who has only played in seven career NHL games — instead of Rask. The Maple Leafs got Andrew Raycroft in the Rask trade and of course in hindsight, that was a very bad move for Toronto. (Toronto Sun)

Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford thinks their scheduling issues are being incorrectly portrayed as a battle between the Hurricanes and the NC State Wolfpack. (News & Observer)

Profiling 2013 NHL Entry Draft prospect Mirco Mueller. (

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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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.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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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.