Monday, April 13, 2015

Jakub Voracek Jersey Card

With their playoff hopes a long shot from a while back, I was kind of hoping for the Philadelphia Flyers' sake that Jakub Voracek might run away with the scoring race and win the Art Ross Trophy; it would have been well deserved for such a hard-working and talented player, and it would have been different from the usual suspects.

When Jamie Benn won it by passing John Tavares, I got half my wish of fresh faces, at least, but poor Voracek finished the season with 81 points, tied with Alex Ovechkin in 4th place, behind Benn (87), Tavares (86) and Sidney Crosby (84). Good company, for sure.

The seventh-overall pick in 2007, he scored in his first NHL game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, was part of their first team that made the playoffs and assisted on their first postseason goal; former NHLer Cam Russell, who coached him in Juniors in the LHJMQ with the Halifax Mooseheads, said he was the most talented and disciplined player he'd ever coached and was probably the best player of his draft class, one that included Patrick Kane (1st, two Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe), James Van Riemsdyk (2nd), Kyle Turris (3rd), Sam Gagner (6th), Logan Couture (9th), Brandon Sutter (11th), Ryan McDonagh (12th, a President's Trophy and a Cup Finals), Lars Eller (13th), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th, a gold-winning Olympian), Max Pacioretty (22nd, an Olympian and this season's 5th-leading goal scorer), Mikael Backlund (24th), David Perron (26th), P.K. Subban (43rd, a Norris Trophy in tow), Wayne Simmonds (61st), Alex Killorn (77th), Alec Martinez (95th, two Stanley Cups), Benn (129th), Jake Muzzin (141st, two Stanley Cups), Scott Darling (153rd), and Nick Bonino (173rd). That's good company as well.

It remains to be seen whether he, Kane, Subban, Benn, McDonagh, Shattenkirk, Pacioretty or even Simmonds has the best career, but he already has achievements no one can take away from him: a bronze medal at the 2008 World U18 Championships, and gold (2010) and bronze (2011) medals at the World Championships for the Czech Republic. He also tied the All-Star Game points record (6) in February, so his name can now be said in the same breath as Mario Lemieux's.

He's also developed a dislike for losing, which will make Flyers GM Ron Hextall very happy as he tries to build a contender around Voracek, Simmonds and Claude Giroux.

I'll be keeping an eye out for sure. In the meantime, here he is finishing up a slap shot near the boards, in the Flyers' current/retro bright orange (home) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1 set (card #GJ-JV of the UD Game Jersey sub-set) featuring a black game-worn jersey swatch:
I'm not certain he'll be able to repeat finishing in the top-5 again, but that doesn't mean he isn't a heck of a hockey player.

No comments:

Post a Comment