directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: 1st round pick Voracek eager to prove worth

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, September 7, 2007

1st round pick Voracek eager to prove worth

The Columbus Dispatch ran another CBJ story this morning (season must be getting close as their coverage is picking up which has been great) on 2007 1st round pick (7th overall) Jakub Voracek. The Traverse City Tournament opens today (more on that later in a separate blog entry) and it will be Voracek's first opportunity to strut his stuff. Here are some snippets from the Dispatch article:

"I'm so excited," Voracek said. "I'm very looking forward to it. It's my first time playing at this level, so we'll see how I play."

"The first thing you appreciate as a coach is that he never takes a night off," Russell said. "People say that about a lot of guys, but it's the dead-on truth about Jakub. I've asked him who he wants to play with (on his line), and he refuses to give me names. He says, 'I don't care who I play with. You coach, I play.' "

Not only are the Jackets pretty much settled on the wings, but general manager Scott Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock are intent on letting young players mature.

"I don't rule anybody out from making the team," Howson said. "Jakub will be given every opportunity. But we're not going to keep him (on the Blue Jackets) to play 40 games. We're not going to keep him up here to play on the fourth line. He's either going to be one of our best top-end players, or he'll go back to junior and have a great season.

"Either way, his future is extremely bright."

Its a safe bet that Voracek will be spending next season back with his junior team in Halifax where he racked up 23G and 63A in his first year in North America. I can't tell you how much I love to read those words as too often Blue Jackets draft picks have been rushed and quite frankly just were not mature enough physically or mentally for the rigors of the NHL and playing against men. This is the way most successful teams in the NHL conduct business and develop players.

Of course there always is an outside shot that he could impress but looking at past #7 overall picks over the past 10 years only Manny Malhotra made the jump to the NHL the year after he was drafted. Over the past 17 years only Manny, Shane Doan and Jason Arnott made the jumps. He'll be a Blue Jacket soon enough but for now, this kid will bake properly in the system and when he's ready to make an impact in the role he was drafted to fill, he'll be here.

5 days til camp!


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