Armstrong doesn’t see the Blues, Tarasenko being ‘very far apart in dollars’

6 Comments

Following the Blues first round exit to the Minnesota Wild, GM Doug Armstrong said his top priority was to sign pending restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko to a new deal.

“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us,” Armstrong said in May.

It appears Armstrong is sticking to his word.

Last week the Blues informed Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed.

Pending unrestricted free agents Zbynek Michalek, Marcel Goc and Olli Jokinen all appear headed for the open market on July 1.

Additionally, there are no extensions planned for Chris Butler or Chris Porter prior to July 1.

“What we told all those players, all of our unrestricted players, is that they’ll enter free agency,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Dispatch. “That’s the plan. Now anything can change going up to it, but we understand where the cap is.”

Tarasenko’s three-year, $5.25 million entry-level contract expires next month.

The 23-year-old led the Blues in goals (37) and points (73) during the 2014-15 season.

Nearly two months removed from the club’s final game, there’s nothing to report in terms of a new deal.

“We’d like to get it done as soon as both sides are comfortable,” said Armstrong.“(Tarasenko) knows he’s going to be here, we know he’s going to be here,” Armstrong said. “When it happens, it happens.”

According to Jeremy Rutherford, the club has $57 million in contracts already on the books for the 2015-16 season. With the cap expected to be around $71.5 million, and 16 players under contract for next season, the club has roughly $14 million to play with.

Rutherford believes the Blues and Tarasenko’s agent have spoken this month, but Armstrong wasn’t interested in getting into the details.

“I don’t think it’s beneficial for Vladi or for us to talk about what’s going on behind the scenes,” said Armstrong. “Our team, when you look at the salary cap and you look at our structure, I would imagine that we’re not going to be very far apart in dollars. So, I have a really good feeling of what it’s going to take and I think he does, too.”

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.