Do the Rangers need Rick Nash?

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It’s already been discussed in the comments section here, but since it’s New York Rangers day on PHT, we have to dedicate an entire post to Rick Nash.

Specifically, should Rangers GM Glen Sather acquire the Blue Jackets’ captain in a trade?

Obviously, the answer depends largely on what Sather has to give up to get Nash. Columbus GM Scott Howson has said repeatedly that the price will be high.

“If we do complete a trade, we’re trading out a 30 to 40 goal scorer,” said Howson. “Defense is probably the strongest part of our team if we look at it today, so we’re looking to get some NHL forwards back first and foremost.”

Howson is also reportedly seeking high-end youngsters, with names like Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan popping up in Rangers-related speculation.

Throw in a first-round pick and you can understand many Rangers’ fans reluctance to support a trade for Nash.

However, it has to be noted that Columbus Dispatch beat writer Aaron Portzline has “been told repeatedly” that Howson has not demanded Kreider, McDonagh or Stepan from Sather.

The Rangers do have other prospects like JT Miller, Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath that could form part of a package.

For Sather, it’s a tough decision. On the one hand, he says he doesn’t want to “dismantle the core of our organization. We’ve got a lot of good young kids, and we want to let them grow and develop.”

On the other hand, New York didn’t exactly fill the net in the playoffs and Nash has 272 goals in the last eight seasons — a feat he managed playing alongside a revolving door of mostly mediocre centers. (Suffice to say Brad Richards would be a significant upgrade on any pivot he’s skated with recently in Columbus.)

Nash, 28, has six seasons left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $7.8 million, the fifth highest hit in the NHL.

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.