2010 NHL free agency: Oilers avoid arbitration, re-sign goalie Jeff Deslauriers

jeffdeslauriers.jpgThe Oilers have done the NHL arbitration-watching part of the world a huge favor and came to terms with goaltender Jeff Deslauriers on a one-year one-way deal. Deslauriers was set to be the last arbitration case to be heard, but now that won’t go down, leaving the Blackhawks decision on what they’ll do with goaltender Antti Niemi as the last piece of arbitration-related business left to be handled. Terms of Deslauriers contract were not immediately known, but we’ll update this post later once they’re released.

(Update: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug says Deslaurier’s contract is for $1.1 million)

Deslauriers was pressed into heavy action last year in Edmonton with Nikolai Khabibulin out with an injury and did… About as well as you could expect a lifetime backup goalie to do when playing for the worst team in the NHL last year. He went 16-28-4 last year with a .901 save percentage and a 3.26 goals against average while splitting the post-Khabibulin workload with Devan Dubnyk. Those three goalies are all under contract with Edmonton again next year and all under one-way deals.

Should Khabibulin avoid jail time in his DUI trial at the end of August, and should he be healthy enough to play, the Oilers are facing a rather crowded crease next year. While Dubnyk and Deslauriers aren’t stars by any means, the aging Khabibulin could stand to use as much backup help as can be mustered and giving up a goalie won’t be enjoyable for the organization. Then again, potentially being stuck paying for a goalie while he serves a short jail term doesn’t sound appealing either. I guess having perspective like that helps out.

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    Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

    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

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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.

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