Wings to begin talks with DeKeyser, Sheahan, Tatar

10 Comments

Contract negotiations are soon to begin for three of Detroit’s key restricted free agents.

GM Ken Holland is planning to speak with the agents for defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forwards Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar at this week’s NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, per MLive. The news comes just shortly after reports surfaced that Daniel Alfredsson is interested in returning next season, meaning Holland might need to work quickly in order to get his financials in place.

It’s already been a fairly busy offseason for the Wings. They used a compliance buyout on Jordin Tootoo’s contract, announced they wouldn’t be bringing back veterans Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson, and inked backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year extension.

Now, there are deals to be made with a trio of young talents.

The most pressing is DeKeyser, the 24-year-old rearguard that blossomed in his second professional season. Despite missing significant time with a separated shoulder, he racked up 23 points in 65 games while averaging 21:38 TOI — technically considered a rookie this year, DeKeyser finished second among all freshman D in minutes per game (only Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba played more.)

DeKeyser’s first NHL contract was a two-year, $2.7 million pact, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of bump he gets on his new one.

As for Tatar and Sheahan, they’re both coming off solid efforts in the last of their three-year entry-level deals. Sheahan turned into an everyday player for Detroit halfway through the season and finished with 24 points in 42 games, while Tatar posted career highs across the board in games played (73), goals (19) points (39) and TOI (14:21).

One thing to keep an eye on is how long it takes Holland to actually finalize deals for his RFAs. Talks are starting early but, traditionally, Detroit has let these types of negotiations linger well into the summer — last offseason, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist weren’t signed until mid-August.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

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

Getty Images
2 Comments

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

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

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

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.