‘Door is open’ for Drouin to return to Tampa Bay


Maybe the situation is salvageable after all.

Not long after opting not to trade Jonathan Drouin by Monday’s 3 p.m. EST deadline, Bolts GM Steve Yzerman told reporters he’d still welcome Drouin back to the club — even though the former No. 3 overall pick has been under team-issued suspension for over a month.

“Jonathan is suspended,” Yzerman said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “If he wants to come back, the door is open. That’s up to him.”

It sounded like Yzerman had plenty of suitors for Drouin leading up to the deadline, but several factors got in the way. One, unsurprisingly, was concern from inquiring teams about Drouin’s playing shape, given he’s been out of action since Jan. 20.

Another factor was what Yzerman got offered.

Earlier, he said he’d like to get his club some help on the power play, and there were also reports of Tampa Bay seeking a right-handed shooting defenseman. But the end of the day, acquiring rentals on expiring contracts just didn’t make sense.

Now that the deadline has passed, it’s clear that, regardless of how pear-shaped the situation with Drouin has become, Yzerman understands 1) how talented the kid is, and 2) how much value he has.

Which is why bringing up a potential return to the Bolts is interesting, but not really surprising.

Remember, it was Drouin’s old Quebec League GM, Bobby Smith, who back in January predicted Yzerman would ‘get this back on the rails.”

“I know the teams that have traded away this type of player, whether his name is Joe Thornton or Tyler Seguin, normally live to regret it,” Smith told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think Steve Yzerman, having been not an elite player, a super elite player, is going to get this back on the rails and Jonathan is going to have a long and very good career.”

Of course, we should tap the brakes on a Drouin reunion just a bit. Yzerman did say he hasn’t spoken with Drouin or agent Allan Walsh about a return, and hasn’t thought about reaching out to them.

Related: Trade deadline day 2016 — in like a lamb, out with a whimper

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.