Avalanche avoid arbitration, sign Jamie McGinn for two years

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Despite the sort of breakout run that might encourage some teams to splurge, the Colorado Avalanche avoided the awkward salary arbitration process and signed Jamie McGinn to a two-year, $3.5 million contract, according to Adrian Dater. (That means he’ll receive $1.75 million per season.)

McGinn saw his development explode once he was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Avs. In just 17 games with Colorado, McGinn scored eight goals and 13 points – making more than a few Sharks fans wonder if the team got fleeced in the process.

McGinn is the latest example of the Avalanche making cost-efficient deals with their many free agents this off-season. Matt Duchene struggled mightily at times last season, but a two-year, $7 million pact is an enticing investment considering his skill set. Steve Downie was surprisingly affordable as well, costing Colorado just $5.2 million for two seasons. However you feel about Erik Johnson, his flaws are a lot easier to stomach considering that he’s a big-minutes defenseman (with still some potential to improve) at just $3.75 million per year. The jury’s out on whether P.A. Parenteau can approach his 80-point breakthrough during his final season with the New York Islanders, but four-years and $16 million is very economical if you factor in the unruly nature of the free agent market.

(About the only deal I don’t really like is David Jones’ four-year, $16 million contract, but that’s still not a disaster. Probably not, at least.)

According to Cap Geek, the Avalanche would have $54 million committed to the salary cap with McGinn’s deal factored in. If the floor remains at $55 million once the new CBA wraps up, the team won’t have to add much more salary to meet minimum requirements.

Colorado certainly wasn’t dominant last season, but they picked up steam with additions like McGinn and Downie. If those players can maintain – or even improve – their solid work from last season while Duchene and others improve, the Avs can be an interesting dark horse in the West.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.