Predators acquire Mike Fisher from Senators in exchange for first rounder, conditional pick

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There are gossip writers – probably one interested in country music – who would provide a different reason for the Nashville Predators acquiring Mike Fisher.

Yet beyond appeasing Carrie Underwood, there are actual hockey reasons that explain why the Predators traded their 2011 first round pick and a conditional 2012 pick to the Ottawa Senators for Fisher.

TSN explains that conditional pick this way: the Senators receive a third round pick if Nashville wins one round in the playoffs or a second rounder if they win two or more rounds. That’s pretty steep, but considering the fact that the Predators have never won a single playoff series in their franchise history, it might be worth it.

Actually, the trade makes plenty of sense for both sides.

Fisher provides the Predators with at least a piece of what they lost when should-be top (or second line) center Matthew Lombardi went down with concussion problems. Fisher seems like he should transition smoothly into the Predators fold as a strong defensive forward with some offensive ability. The only drawback is that he came at a price of top picks and a considerable “real” price tag: Fisher brings a $4.2 million annual cap hit through the 2012-13 season.

The Senators get to save some cash and kick-start their (obviously needed) rebuilding process. Getting a first round pick in 2011 and possibly a second or third rounder in 2012 is a heck of find for Fisher, a forward far more useful to a contender than a pretender.

The last time the Predators traded futures for a pivotal center, it was a failed experiment with Peter Forsberg. Yet Fisher is only 30-years-old and is a more seamless match for the team’s defense-first mentality.

If it’s possible for both teams to “win” a trade, this could very well be an example of such a scenario.

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.