In the previous post, we collected some of today’s most interesting signings (or at least extended qualifying offers). Of course, there’s still the other end of the spectrum to account for; let’s take a look at the players whose teams allowed them to walk away, thus fattening a rather thin free agent market a bit. Peter Mueller isn’t the only interesting-if-risky player to become an unrestricted free agent today, after all.
(Note: Rotoworld was once again a very helpful resource for this post. You should keep an eye on their updates when you’re not reading PHT.)
- The Calgary Flames quite reasonably decided that qualifying Blake Comeau at $2.5 million wasn’t a wise idea, as Vicki Hall discusses. Many wondered if Comeau’s 24-goal season in 2010-11 would be a breakthrough, but then came the breakdown. Perhaps the Flames will give him another shot at a reduced rate. If I were Comeau and/or his representation, I’d be more concerned with the team and his role on it than squeezing as much money as possible out of a deal. At 26, the window isn’t closed all the way, he just really needs to get on the right track. More than anything else, that might come down to getting his confidence back.
- It’s hard to believe that Cam Barker once seemed destined to be a piece of the puzzle with the Chicago Blackhawks. His career has taken a serious tumble since then; Barker is now the go-to punching bag with the Edmonton Oilers. Or at least he was, that is. At 26 years old and with the pedigree of a third overall pick (in 2004), it’s not crazy to imagine him getting another shot. The clock is ticking, though.
- Much like his former trade mate in Mueller, Wojtek Wolski did not receive a qualifying offer from the Florida Panthers. Not a big shocker considering that Florida essentially took a shot in the dark on him, but don’t be shocked if his next job comes overseas.
- Ben Kuzma passes along the Vancouver Canucks’ long list of rejects, highlighted by evildoer Aaron Rome.
- In sad pun-related news, the Nashville Predators said goodbye to Francis Bouillon. That’s likely the right move for the Preds, but hopefully “The Bouillon Cube” lands somewhere else so his wonderful nickname lives on.
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.
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.
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.
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.