Wild’s Zidlicky waives no-trade clause for New Jersey, no deal yet (Updated)

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Marek Zidlicky’s sulking days in Minnesota may soon be at an end.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported this morning that Zidlicky has waived his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune confirms Dreger’s report with Zidlicky’s agent but says that there is no deal done as of yet between the two teams.

Zidlicky’s time in Minnesota of late has been strained. Zidlicky has been a healthy scratch often of late by coach Mike Yeo, something that didn’t sit well with the defenseman. Zidlicky ripped Yeo saying that he just wanted to play easy hockey. Yeo took the high road in saying that Zidlicky didn’t handle things the right way.

One note Russo made with how things have been with Zidlicky is how the Wild play when he’s in and out of the lineup. Over the last 21 games Zidlicky has played, the Wild have gone 2-14-5 and they’re 13-4-0 in the last 17 without him. Whether that’s a coincidence or Zidlicky is a jinx is up to you to decide, but those numbers are silly.

New Jersey’s interest is curious here as Zidlicky has one more year left on his deal that comes with a $4 million cap hit. Zidlicky isn’t too impressive defensively but bringing him in as a puck mover might help with Henrik Tallinder and Adam Larsson being banged up.

If you’re curious if his contract might be a stress in getting Zach Parise signed, GM Lou Lamoriello has already said that the Devils’ financial situation won’t affect negotiations there.

Update (10:58 a.m.): Michael Russo spoke with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher who says that he hasn’t asked Zidlicky to waive his NTC for any specific deal.

“I can tell you for sure I’m planning on talking to other teams. We haven’t traded Zid, we haven’t made the decision to trade Zid at this point. I have not formally asked him to do anything because at this point I honestly don’t have anything to take to him, I don’t have anything for him to say yes or no too.”

Fletcher clearly doesn’t want to be held to dealing with just one team here which is just helping make this whole situation that much stranger.

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

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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.