Report: Devils captain Salvador to retire this week (Update: Official)

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The 10th captain in New Jersey Devils history is about to hang up his skates.

From NorthJersey.com:

An answer on captain Bryce Salvador’s future is expected by the end of the week, though, with a retirement announcement appearing to be the likely conclusion.

“We’ll probably have some news later in the week on Bryce and we’ll kind of see what direction he is going,” Devils GM Ray Shero said today. “I don’t anticipate this will be a situation that’s ongoing for a lot longer one way or the other. I anticipate that relatively soon there will be some sort of information.”

UPDATE: Per an NHLPA release, Salvador has officially called it a career.

“I would like to thank my wife, April, for her unconditional and ongoing support, and love. I’m blessed and so thankful that my two sons, Pierson and Hudson, were able to see and remember me play as I thought my career was over when I missed the entire 2010-11 season due to injury,” Salvador said in a statement. “To my parents, and my extended family, as well as Bonnie and Gerald, thank you for all your love and support.

“I would like to thank the Lethbridge Hurricanes and GM Bob Bartlett, the St. Louis Blues and GM Larry Pleau, and the New Jersey Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello, for giving me the opportunities to play hockey. Thanks also to my teammates, the owners of each of these organizations, and to the fans for bringing excitement and energy to every game. I look forward to a continued involvement in hockey for years to come.”

Salvador, 39, appeared in just 15 games last year, missing extensive time with nerve damage and a bulging disc in his lower back. There was talk of him potentially returning to the team this fall in some capacity — possibly on a training camp PTO — but now he’s walking away from the game after a 14-year career.

It was, by all measures, a pretty solid run.

A sixth-round pick back in ’94, Salvador appeared in nearly 800 games with the Blues and Devils, and was a huge piece of New Jersey’s Stanley Cup run in 2012. Never known for his offense, Salvador scored 14 points in 24 games to finish second among all d-men in playoff scoring.

Following that run, the Devils signed Salvador to a fairly lucrative three-year, $9.5 million deal and, prior to the start of the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, named him captain.

Salvador also addressed his retirement in a recent Players Tribune piece. You can read it here.

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.