More Canucks goalie drama? Ryan Miller gets a call

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The Vancouver Canucks have a new look in the front office, yet it’s possible that the franchise might continue to produce headlines with goaltending drama.

Vancouver’s News 1130 Sports reports that the team called pending UFA Ryan Miller’s agent on Wednesday (in addition to Dave Bolland, as noted earlier). News 1130 Sports also reports that Miller wouldn’t have any issues playing in Vancouver, so there’s a chance that there can be a match.

That report was backed up by CTV’s Kelcey Brade:

Do note that this hasn’t been confirmed by the team or Miller’s agent, yet it doesn’t seem outlandish to imagine something working out between the Canucks and the 33-year-old goalie.

While Vancouver has two goalies under contract at the NHL level next season, Miller is far more experienced than either netminder. Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom have 88 career regular season games played between them while Miller has played in 559 (not to mention his playoff experience, the 2010 Olympic silver medal and a Vezina).

Lack makes $1.15 million for the next two seasons while Markstrom will be a RFA after he finishes out a deal that carries a $1.2 million cap hit in 2014-15. There’s no telling how far the Canucks and Miller even got in potential contract talks, yet at those cap hits, it wouldn’t be difficult for Vancouver to move one of Lack or Markstrom if necessary.

Again, a lot can change between today and July 1, let alone once deals can start to become official between free agents and new teams. Even so, such a storyline has to feel uncomfortably familiar for many Canucks fans … although perhaps the franchise could gain some much-needed stability in the end?

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.