Could Gostisbehere be the Flyers’ first Calder winner?


When you look at pure impact, Shayne Gostisbehere is right up there with the best rookies in the NHL so far this season.

The Philadelphia Inquirer brings up a fascinating question, even if it’s a far-flung concept: could he be the first player to win the Calder as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers?

The problem is in the name: he hasn’t been “here,” in the NHL, that long.

Just look at the top scorers among rookies. At a first glance, coming in at 12th overall seems to make his case laughable; Gostisbehere’s 19 points are a far cry from Artemi Panarin‘s rookie-leading 45.

Still, it’s resounding what he’s accomplished for the Flyers, especially in a short time.

In 27 games, he has three game-winning goals, all in overtime. His 10 power-play points ties him with Max Domi for third place among rookies.

It’s not on voters to penalize other rookies for playing in far more games, but Gostisbehere’s per-game impact really stands out. There are only two first-year players who’ve played in 10+ games who have more each night than Ghost’s .70 per game: Connor McDavid (.92) and Panarin (.88).

Like any good difference-maker, he’s generating a rave review quote from an opposing player, via the Inquirer:

“His shot … he’s got a bomb,” Kris Letang said. “For a young guy to come into the league and manage a power play with that much talent on it, it’s impressive.”

No doubt about it, “Ghost” is a long shot to win the Calder … or even be a finalist. Perhaps he should get a little more consideration, however, and that’s especially true if he keeps up this pace through the rest of the season.

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

Rasmus Sandin
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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.