Tyler Myers has my vote for the Calder

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Myers.jpgForget about Jimmy Howard, my vote — if I had one — is for Tyler
Myers for the Calder Trophy. The young defenseman simply dominated the
Dallas Stars tonight in the Sabres 5-3 win and if you haven’t had the
chance to see this young man play, then you need to find some way to do
so. Myers has carried over his dominance from last season with the
Kelowna Rockets, and it’s amazing to see a young player adjust to the
NHL so quickly.

Matt Duchene is the leader among all rookies in
scoring, but Myers — a defenseman — is not far behind. Even more
impressive is his plus-7 rating, but the numbers and the stats don’t
tell the whole story.

Myers is a player you have to watch to truly
be impressed by. His poise and his ability to read the ice are, dare I
say it, indicative of some of the best defensemen the NHL has seen over
the past 20 years. He’s a freakish combination of speed, scoring ability
and tremendous size — sort of a hybrid of Derian Hatcher and Nicklas
Lidstrom.

What’s scary is that he’s nowhere near the level of
defenseman he has the potential to be. He’ll only improve year after
year, and he still has some muscle and size to add to his already
impressive frame. It’s amazing he only went 12th overall in 2008.

I
know the popular opinion right now is that Jimmy Howard has the lock on
the Calder*, and if not he should. But what Tyler Myers is doing every
night in Buffalo is something that numbers and stats cannot quantify and
after a game like he had against Dallas, there should be no question
who deserves top rookie honors.

*Sporting News’ Craig Custance has informed me that most voters are with Myers, and not Howard. My point still stands, but it’s good to know that despite a late surge by Howard that voters are still sticking with the Sabres defenseman.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.