Jarome Iginla

Under Pressure: Jarome Iginla


Look, this isn’t to say that the Colorado Avalanche’s success in 2014-15 will be dependent on Jarome Iginla. The 37-year-old winger will be a reasonably significant part of the equation, to be sure; however, the young core of Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, and Semyon Varlamov is exactly that — the core. As in, the most important part.

We picked Iginla for this post because, after leaving Calgary to chase his first Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and Boston, he still doesn’t have a ring. Evidently, he feels has a chance to get one in Colorado.

“With this group, I think the sky is the limit,” Iginla said, per the Denver Post, after signing a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avs. “When I think of some of the teams that have had success in the NHL in the last five or six years, I think of Chicago; they were a very young, very talented team that moved up very quickly, that had a very talented young core when they won.”

How ready the Avs really are to compete for a Cup is up for debate. On paper, Colorado’s blue line doesn’t look championship caliber. Certainly, there’s no Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith back there.

Of course, for Iginla, it’s not just about next season in Colorado. There’s a reason he pushed for a three-year deal.

“You don’t want to come and just have one shot at it, on a one-year deal,” he said.

But Iginla has played 1,310 games in his stellar NHL career. Only two active players, Jaromir Jagr (1,473) and Shane Doan (1,315) have played more than that.

So while he’s not quite down to his last shot to hoist Lord Stanley, he’s getting there.

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.