Panthers want to acquire goalscorer by deadline, says Tallon

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Florida’s right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but sitting 21st in the league in goals per game.

So it’s no surprise to learn that GM Dale Tallon wants to add a sniper.

“That would be a priority, obviously — somebody that can score goals,” Tallon told Fox Sports Florida on Thursday night. “Our defensive play has been very solid, and we just have to score a few more goals in situations in the right time of a game.

“That’s what we’re lacking a little bit, and that’ll come. But we’re looking for that.”

It’s easy to see why Tallon would like another scorer.

Florida’s 72 goals this year have largely come by committee — the team doesn’t have any double-digit marksmen, but eight players at with least six goals: Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith, Nick Bjugstad, Jussi Jokinen, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Pirri.

So, who to add?

One name to keep an eye on could be Vancouver forward Radim Vrbata. The two-time 30-goal scorer is a pending UFA and has ties to Tallon, as the two spent time together in Chicago.

Tallon, then the ‘Hawks GM, first traded to get Vrbata out of Carolina, then signed him to a two-year extension.

As for Tallon’s ability to make a move — well, there doesn’t appear to be many impediments.

He has the full backing of ownership and a history of bold moves on his resume. Two years ago, he made the blockbuster deal to get Roberto Luongo from Vancouver and, at last year’s deadline, acquired Jagr from New Jersey.

Now, he sure sounds like a guy that’s prepared to make another acquisition.

“We’re always looking to better ourselves, and we’re getting more and more assets — and they’re not all going to play for us, because there’s not enough room,” Tallon explained. “If we can maybe package a couple of those to get the right piece that, long term, will help us and really help us in the playoff run and get us deep into the playoffs, then we’ll look at it.”

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.