Dennis Rasmussen, Anton Belov, Danis Zapirov

‘Hawks ink Rasmussen after strong season in Sweden


Swedish forward Dennis Rasmussen will try to carry the momentum of his success in Sweden all the way to the NHL after signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie. He’ll come with an annual cap hit of $793,000.

Rasmussen, 23, was never selected in an NHL Entry Draft, but he’s improved significantly over the last few years while playing for Vaxjo HC. He scored 16 goals and was tied for ninth in the Swedish league with 40 points in 52 contests last season.

He was also on Sweden’s bronze medal winning World Championship team in 2014, although he was used sparingly in the tournament.

He won’t be the only Swedish league standout looking to make a name for himself in North America next season as the Columbus Blue Jackets inked Simon Hjalmarsson last week. Meanwhile, San Jose took Melker Karlsson, defenseman Johan Alm has joined Nashville, and Joakim Lindstrom will return to North America after signing with the St. Louis Blues.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.

Leafs claim Corrado from Canucks, waive Panik

Frank Corrado
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.

Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.

Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.

With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.

Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.

In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.