On Toews, Kane and the $10 million cap hit

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Contract extension talks in Chicago are underway for both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and, if reports prove accurate, they could be two of the richest deals in NHL history.

The pair have reportedly opened negotiations by each asking for $12 million annually in salary, per TSN. While it’s expected both will come down from that number, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggests both could still average out $10M on a yearly basis:

The NHL’s current highest cap hit belongs to Alex Ovechkin at $9.53M, followed by Evgeni Malkin at $9.5M. As such, Kane and Toews potentially breaking the double-digit threshold is big news — lest we forget that, at the time of writing, only nine players total across the league carry a cap hit of $8 million or higher: Ovechkin, Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Henrik Lundqvist, Claude Giroux, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf and Phil Kessel.

You’ll also note that only two sets of those — Perry and Getzlaf, Crosby and Malkin — play on the same team.

‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman, who held a pre-draft conference call on Thursday, refused to comment on negotiations regarding any of his players, so reporters got little on where contract talks stand, or if McKenzie’s report was accurate.

Bowman’s silence won’t quiet the rumors surrounding his team, however. Even though agent Rick Curran angrily shot it down, a report of Chicago making Patrick Sharp available via trade gained plenty of steam this week and if this Kane/Toews report proves true, it’ll only get steamier — Sharp is on the books at $5.9 through 2017; Kane and Toews each have one year left at $6.3M and are obviously going to get more.

Given the hefty deals already in place for Corey Crawford ($6 million annually), Brent Seabrook ($5.8), Duncan Keith ($5.5) and Marian Hossa ($5.275) well…you can do the math.

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.