Canucks sign Jeffrey, another with Desjardins ties

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Willie Desjardins will have some familiar faces around him when he begins his first-ever NHL coaching gig in Vancouver this fall.

On Wednesday, the Canucks signed former Dallas center Dustin Jeffrey. The move reunites Jeffrey with Desjardins, his coach in AHL Texas — Jeffrey split last year between the NHL and AHL but played a key role in Texas’ Calder Cup championship, scoring seven goals and 12 points in 19 playoff games.

The Jeffrey acquisition follows earlier, and similar, moves from new GM Canucks Jim Benning. Prior to the NHL Entry Draft, Benning acquired Derek Dorsett from the New York Rangers — Desjardins coached Dorsett for three years in WHL Medicine Hat — then, on the second day of the draft, Benning went out and acquired Linden Vey from the Los Angeles Kings.

Vey and Desjardins have quite the history together from their time in Medicine Hat. After two years under Desjardins, Vey scored a whopping 116 points in 2010-11 — the most points scored by a Tiger in over 15 years. Vey finished as the Western league’s top scorer (ahead of Tyler Johnson, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Johansen) and was named a first-team all star.

In short, ex-Desjardins players looking for work might want to give Vancouver a call.

In addition to Jeffrey, the Canucks also signed a pair of former OHL standouts in Cal O’Reilly and Bobby Sanguinetti on Wednesday. O’Reilly joined Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica last year after leaving the KHL, scoring 45 points in 52 games for the Comets; Sanguinetti, the 21st overall pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, spent last year with KHL Moscow Oblast Atlant and had seven points in 15 games.

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.