It’s Winnipeg Jets day on PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Winnipeg Jets.

Solid, yet unspectacular.

That’s the way you could describe how just about everything the Jets have done over the past year. They finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the upstart Islanders. The brilliant parts of their team (Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd) are often overshadowed by who struggles (team defense, goaltending, coaching?).

The Jets are a team with hope and with reasons to be optimistic about their future, but many questions remain. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff tried to address some of those issues this summer, but mostly got caught up in retaining his own players.

It’s not quite a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of thing, but in a new division with new rivals they have to hope treading water is OK.

Offseason recap

The Jets managed to spend quite a bit of money this summer, just not in what was an unspectacular free agent crop. They carved out big deals to restricted free agents Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, and Bryan Little. With all the money spent there, the generally frugal Jets are now amongst the league’s biggest spenders.

Who they were able to add to the team they did so through trades. They acquired Michael Frolik from Chicago and Devin Setoguchi from Minnesota for just mid-round draft picks. Meanwhile, young forward Alex Burmistrov packed up his things and headed to the KHL after apparently having issues with coach Claude Noel.

Prospect forwards Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry will each get their chance to show they can be full-time NHL players this year and it would do Winnipeg a world of good to see them make the leap.

Rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba could wind up being a Calder candidate this season. Meanwhile, questions still remain as to how good (or not) goalie Ondrej Pavelec can be.

It could be one of those seasons for the Jets, they just have to hope they can hang with the likes of Chicago, St. Louis, and Minnesota instead of Tampa Bay, Florida, and Carolina. Gulp?

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

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.