Red Wings, Canucks, Preds fail to address needs in Day 1 of free agency

25 Comments

Did we jinx them? Because…

Here’s where we wrote on Monday about Red Wings general manager Ken Holland needing to add a right-shooting defenseman.

And here’s where we wrote about Canucks general manager Jim Benning needing to add a top-six forward.

And here’s where we wrote about Predators general manager David Poile needing to add a center to play with James Neal.

Yesterday, each GM struck out. And today, their options are severely limited.

Does Detroit make a push to get Tyler Myers out of Buffalo? There were rumors of that around the draft. Myers wouldn’t come cheap though; nor would he come without significant risk, given his uneven play with the Sabres. What else could Holland do? Well, when Matt Niskanen signed with Washington, we hypothesized he could call the Caps about Mike Green, but then Brian MacLellan said Green is still in his team’s plans.

“Still lots of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” Holland said, per MLive. “I was hoping to get a right-shot defenseman or two. They signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative.”

One UFA name we’ll throw out there: Sami Salo. He’s 39 and has always been injury-prone, but he’s still got a booming point shot and can make a good first pass.

Meanwhile, does Vancouver consider signing Radim Vrbata, i.e. the only 20-goal scorer that wasn’t picked up yesterday? Benning said late Tuesday the Canucks had thought about it, but at the same time didn’t sound too excited about it. Benning failed to convince Jarome Iginla to come to Vancouver.

Does Nashville consider signing Mikhail Grabovski? The 30-year-old is arguably the top center still available in free agency. So…yeah.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk 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.

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
3 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.