Canucks re-sign Kassian for two years, $3.5M

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The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Zack Kassian to a two-year, $3.5 million deal on Thursday, according to the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap.

Update: It’s official.

Kassian, 23, was a restricted free agent this summer. Extending the big winger continues what’s already been a busy offseason for a newly revamped Canucks front office that made moves including trading Ryan Kesler and signing the likes of Radim Vrbata.

This could be the extent of the moves, as Pap reported in the Vancouver Sun earlier today.

“For the most part, we’re done,” Benning said. “We’re probably going to go into the season with this team. We’re going to see where we stand and go from there. We’re working on our RFA guys today and we want to get them done.

“As far as the UFAs, if something shakes out at the end, we still have a little cap room. But I think we accomplished the things that we set out to accomplish. We wanted to add an experienced goaltender, and we did that with Ryan Miller, and we wanted to add a scorer.”

Kassian enjoyed easily the best season of his still-young NHL career in 2013-14, setting career-highs in goals (14), assists (15), points (29), penalty minutes (124) and games played (73). The Canucks are getting a nice deal for a player who could develop into a nice power forward.

PHT’s Jason Brough passes along word from new GM Jim Benning that Kassian could be a big part of an interesting second line for the Canucks:

“Zack is a skilled, young player and an important member of this team,” said Benning in a release. “He has the ability to impact a game both with his talent and size. We look forward to seeing him continue to develop as a Canuck.”

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.