Is Lamoriello acting ‘foolish’ in negotiations with Matthews?

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Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth overall pick at this year’s draft, has already signed his entry-level deal.

So too has the No. 3 pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and the No. 2 pick, Patrik Laine.

In fact, only one of the top four picks in this year’s draft has yet to sign:

Toronto’s Auston Matthews, the first overall selection.

(More on that here.)

It’s been reported that Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello, as old-school an executive as there is, remains steadfast in his belief against performance bonuses. This dates back to his time in New Jersey, like when he infamously refused to negotiate a performance bonus for Adam Larsson, the fourth overall pick in 2011.

For more on the current stalemate with Matthews, here’s Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star:

“This one, to me, feels foolish,” an NHL source not involved in the talks told The Star. “I don’t know what Lou’s reward is if he wins for the amount of risk you take by going this direction.”

The Leafs not only risk alienating Matthews and his camp — souring future talks when Matthews will have more leverage — but they may be sending a negative message to players around the league about how the team treats stars, he said.

“I hope Lou’s not holding his breath,” said an executive with a rival club. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Lou, but I would not be wagering the house on (the Leafs) being able to hold that line.”

The Star reported that Matthews is looking for an entry-level deal with $2.85 million in performances bonuses, on par with what Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — the top two picks in last year’s draft — received from Edmonton and Buffalo, respectively.

This is somewhat uncharted territory for the Leafs organization.

Matthews is the most ballyhooed prospect the club’s had in years, and it’s also Lamoriello’s first major draft pick as GM. Remember, he wasn’t around when the club took Mitch Marner fourth overall last year, and the performance-laden deal Marner signed was orchestrated prior to LouLam coming aboard.

Now, to be clear, there’s still no reason for panic. The Leafs are months away from training camp and we’re still six weeks out from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, in which Matthews will be suiting up for Team North America.

But with every passing day, the situation will be monitored just little bit closer.

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.