Coyotes shelf Smith extension until ownership situation resolved

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Talk around Phoenix this summer has mostly revolved around two individuals — prospective owner Greg Jamison and still-unsigned captain Shane Doan.

But as Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic points out, there’s another key guy that hasn’t received as much of the spotlight.

Mike Smith.

The 30-year-old goalie had a breakout season in 2011-12, finishing fourth in Vezina and 11th in Hart Trophy voting. He only has one year remaining on the two-year, $4 million deal he signed last July and, given his importance to the team, is a top priority.

Just one catch — the aforementioned ownership situation.

Maloney said the two sides have “exchanged some ideas” about extending Smith’s contact but, given it promises to be a far heftier deal than his current one, the ‘Yotes GM would like to get ownership involved.

Which is a problem, obviously.

“When you start looking at big contracts [including the length of deals], you certainly want ownership to be included in the process,” Maloney told the Republic.

As such, the Smith extension is on hold.

Looking ahead, it’s unclear exactly what Smith would garner on the open market. Two of the guys that finished ahead of him in the Vezina voting — Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist — have cap hits of $7 and $6.87 million, while the other, Jonathan Quick, just signed a 10-year, $58 million extension.

Even though Smith posted career-highs across the board last season — 38 wins, eight shutouts, .930 save percentage, 2.21 GAA — there are some red flags.

One, the best year of his life came in his seventh NHL season.

Two, Ilya Bryzgalov posted equally stellar numbers while playing in the desert (before going to Philly and losing the plot.) There’s a belief goalies benefit from playing in Phoenix’s defense-first system, with Smith being chief among them.

That said, it’s hard to deny how good he looked last year upon leading the Coyotes to their first-ever Western Conference final.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

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.