Report: Buffalo first-rounder Girgensons passes on school, will sign with Sabres

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According to Ted Ryan of the Burlington Free Press, Buffalo Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons — taken 14th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — will bypass enrolling at the University of Vermont to begin his professional career.

Girgensons will reportedly sign an entry level deal with the Sabres, at which point he’ll be eligible to join the NHL club or their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

“We have stated often that if we are going to lose Zemgus, we hope it’s to the NHL team that selects him in the draft,” said UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Buffalo feels confident that Zemgus can play for them this year as well as with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

“We support Zemgus and wish him the best of luck as he begins his professional career with Buffalo.”

Girgensons, 18, recently participated in the Sabres’ prospect development camp and played well, occasionally skating on a line with fellow 2012 draftee Mikhail Grigorenko and Buffalo’s first-round pick from 2011, Joel Armia.

During camp, Grigorenko told the Buffalo News his goal for the upcoming season was to make the NHL. Girgensons was less definitive, but did seem to relish the idea of skating alongside his fellow first-rounder — something that might’ve played a part in his decision to go pro.

“We clicked together pretty good, I think, so we’ll see how it goes this week,” Girgensons said. “It’s not a problem for me to transfer to the wing.”

While a nice get for the Sabres, Girgensons ‘ signing a tough blow for Vermont. He was part of what looked to be a stellar incoming freshman class and was set to be the highest-drafted Catamounts player in NHL history.

Former UVM player John LeClair was taken by Montreal in the second round — 33rd overall — in 1987 and current Catamount Connor Brickely was selected 50th overall by Florida in 2010.

Related: Will Buffalo’s two first-round picks be in the NHL next season?

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.