Coyotes trade Wojtek Wolski to Rangers for Michal Rozsival

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Various sources (including TSN’s Darren Dreger) report that the Phoenix Coyotes have traded forward Wojtek Wolski to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival. It seems like it is a straight-up deal without any other players or draft picks involved, but we’ll pass along additional information if it comes through.

Coyotes GM Don Maloney and Rangers GM Glen Sather have made a handful of deals over the years, including a deal that sent Petr Prucha to the desert, so it should come as no surprise that the two teams made a deal.

The deal itself, however, is a big win for the Rangers and more than a bit bewildering for the Coyotes’ perspective. The Rangers receive $1.2 million in salary cap savings in the exchange, as both Wolski ($3.8 million) and Rozsival ($5 million) will see their contracts expire after the 2011-12 season. Not only that, but New York get a promising – if some might say, wounded, after two trades in two seasons – forward to boot.

Let’s not forget the fact that Wolski is a replacement (if not an upgrade) for injured forward Alex Frolov.

Don’t get me wrong, Wolski really has been struggling this season (six goals and 10 assists for 16 points with a -6). In fact, Rozsival didn’t score much less this season, with three goals and 12 assists for 15 points and a +3 in 10-11. But Wolski trumps Rozsival in the all-important upside category, not to mention the fact that he produced a higher peak: he scored 65 points with the Avs and Coyotes last season.

This trade plus his great move to clear up cap space by getting rid of Olli Jokinen ultimately begs the question: is Sather turning into a wise trader? I’m not sure I’m comfortable living in that world.

So again, if you ask me, the Rangers won big in this trade. But what do you think?

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.

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.