Erik Gustafsson

Flyers’ Gustafsson out two weeks with knee sprain

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Another day, another Philadelphia Flyers defenseman headed out of the lineup.

The team announced defenseman Erik Gustafsson would miss the next two weeks with a knee sprain. GM Paul Holmgren said he was hurt in the third period of their 6-3 loss at Columbus on Saturday.

Gustafsson has two goals and five assists this season in 20 games and has averaged nearly 17 minutes of ice time per game.

The Flyers were without Niklas Grossmann in their last game as he dealt with the flu and was replaced by Hal Gill in the lineup. Andrej Meszaros was a healthy scratch last game and could draw in if Grossmann isn’t over his illness.

If none of that works, they could call someone like Brandon Manning up from AHL Adirondack. It’s never not interesting in Philadelphia.

Avs keep prized rookie Rantanen, sign Skille after PTO

Mikko Rantanen
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Some fairly noteworthy developments out of Denver on Tuesday, the biggest being that Mikko Rantanen — the 10th overall pick at this year’s draft — has made the Avs’ opening-night roster.

Rantanen, 18, was considered one of the more NHL-ready prospects at the draft but “fell” to the Avs, which proved a good thing — Colorado has a long history of fast-tracking high picks to the NHL, as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon all made the leap in their draft years.

At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Rantanen already has big league size. It’s possible he opens the season on a line with center Carl Soderberg, one of the club’s big summer acquisitions.

Elsewhere in Colorado…

For the second straight day, a veteran forward has successfully converted his training camp tryout into an NHL contract.

On Tuesday, the Avs announced that Jack Skille had signed a one-year pact with the club. Skille, 28, is a former first-round pick (seventh overall in ’05) that’s appeared in nearly 250 career NHL contests with Chicago, Florida and, most recently, Columbus.

With Colorado, Skille is expected to fill a bottom-six checking role. As mentioned above, he joins Scottie Upshall as the other forward to successfully turn his PTO into a new deal — yesterday, Upshall signed a one-year, two-way pact with the Blues.

Habs knew Kassian’s history prior to trade with Canucks

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian
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The Montreal Canadiens knew what they were getting when they acquired Zack Kassian from Vancouver.

Specifically, they were getting a player who had already been through the first stage of the NHL/NHLPA’s substance-abuse treatment program. Kassian was suspended without pay and placed in Stage Two yesterday, the day after suffering minor injuries in an early-morning car accident.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien confirmed to reporters today that the club knew of Kassian’s history prior to the trade that sent the 24-year-old winger to Montreal, along with a fifth-round draft pick, in return for veteran forward Brandon Prust, a pending unrestricted free agent.

That the Canucks had to include a draft pick in the deal perhaps makes more sense now than it did at the time.