New owner Barroway bracing Arizona for rebuild

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Recently, Coyotes GM Don Maloney unveiled the vision Andrew Barroway — who took over as Arizona’s majority owner last month — has for the future of the team.

“I spent the weekend with Andy at the All-Star Game and really got a sense of who he is and what he’s all about,” Maloney said, per Fox Sports Arizona. “He really does want to do this right.

“He wants to build for the long term and he understands that there is some suffering involved to do what you need to do to build a winner that is sustainable.”

Acknowledgement of potential suffering is intriguing. Remember when former Sabres GM Darcy Regier alluded to it in Buffalo during the start of Buffalo’s rebuild?

“It probably needs an understanding from our fan base that what Terry [Pegula, Sabres owner] is asking of us is to try a lot of things,” Regier said in the spring of ’13. “He is in search of creating a Stanley Cup champion.

“It may require some suffering.”

Regier, of course, was fired just a few months after making that statement, only to resurface last July in — surprise! — Arizona, where he’s currently embedded as assistant GM.

At this point, all signs point to a major rebuild in the desert. Beyond the quotes above, Arizona has just five players under contract beyond 2015-16 (Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mike Smith, Martin Hanzal, Lauri Korpikoski, Joe Vitale) and a slew of young prospects looking to make the leap, led by World Juniors standout Max Domi.

This makes the Mar. 2 deadline all the more intriguing. The Barroway transaction closed quicker than some speculated (reports suggested it wouldn’t be done until the end of the season), which has afforded Maloney an earlier opportunity to figure out what ownership wants, and how to execute it. The names of Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle have been prominent in rumors and the club has another chip to play in veteran d-man Zbynek Michalek, a UFA at season’s end.

Some think it would behoove Arizona to re-sign some of these players, especially a productive veteran presence like Vermette. But based on the message Maloney’s getting from Barroway, spending money doesn’t sound like it’s a key part of the plan.

“We want to stay as flexible as possible,” he explained. “If we need to grow this thing and run at a low payroll for a couple years, so be it.”

 

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

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.