CALGARY, Alberta — New Flyers coach Alain Vigneault is holding his players accountable.
Unhappy with Jake Voracek’s play, Vigneault demoted the right winger from the first to fourth line in the third period of Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss in Vancouver.
“Jake at this time, not from a lack of effort or a lack of trying to do the right things, but he is fighting it a little bit right now,” Vigneault said on Monday. “Uncharacteristically, he’s losing some puck battles and there are some decisions with the puck that are not typical of him. In the last game, we were down by a goal and I felt I had to make a quick change in the third period.”
Vigneault didn’t say whether Voracek would be back on the top line, which includes Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes, in Tuesday’s game in Calgary.
But he made it sound like that would be the case.
“He had a good practice today and I’m sure he’s going to play well for us [Tuesday],” Vigneault added.
On Saturday, Voracek played just 14 minutes, 30 seconds, his lowest total since the 2015-16 season. He averaged 16:05 of ice time in the first two games this season. Voracek was also one of the three Flyers Vigneault selected in the shootout Saturday, but he was stopped by Jacob Markstrom.
The veteran has yet to score a point, but the Flyers are off to a 2-0-1 start. Voracek had 66 points last season and was minus-16.
Defenseman Andy Welinski was medically cleared, so the Flyers put him on waivers Monday with the purpose of sending him to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, their AHL affiliate.
If Welinski clears waivers or is claimed, the Flyers will get an additional $750,000 in much-needed cap space Tuesday. They have just $303,000 in cap room, according to CapFriendly.com.
With the additional cap room, the Flyers may sign Chris Stewart, a physical right winger.
The Flyers signed Welinski to a one-year, one-way contract when he became a free agent July 1. He played 26 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season and had a goal and three assists.
Welinski, 26, had a lower-body injury during training camp and remained on the injured list. He was a third-round choice (83rd overall) by Anaheim in the 2011 draft and spent parts of two seasons with the Ducks.