Lazar draws back in for Sens as trade rumors swirl

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After sitting as a healthy scratch for the last four games, Curtis Lazar will get back into the lineup tonight when the Sens take on the Devils in New Jersey.

It’ll be an inclusion worth monitoring.

Earlier this week, we welcomed Lazar to the trade rumor mill after reports that his agent, J.P. Barry, was set to meet with Sens brass about the 22-year-old’s current situation. TSN’s Darren Dreger floated the possibility Barry would ask for a trade, while the Sun’s Bruce Garrioch said teams calling about Lazar have been told the asking price is a first- or second-round pick.

An update on the pending meeting, per the Citizen:

Come Saturday, Dorion will talk face-to-face with Lazar’s agent, J.P. Barry, about what’s next in a season that has gone from bad to worse for the 22-year-old.

And yes, at least the idea of Lazar being traded will be discussed.

Lazar, the 17th overall pick in 2013, has struggled through a rough campaign. The start of the year was derailed after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis. Lazar was eventually sent down to the AHL, with Dorion saying in late October that it was best, at the time, for Lazar to play in the minors and continue to regain his confidence.

Since returning to Ottawa in November, Lazar has failed to produce, with only one assist in 29 games, while averaging just 8:23 of ice time per game and virtually no presence on any of the club’s special team units. He was also hurt in a game versus Pittsburgh in December.

Minutes have been even tougher to come by lately, with the arrival of Tommy Wingels from San Jose.

All this comes after Lazar had a reasonably successful sophomore campaign in ’15-16. He posted career highs in a number of categories — including games played (76) and points (20) — and was averaging just under 14 minutes per night.

It’s probably worth noting that Lazar’s played for three different coaches (Paul MacLean, Dave Cameron, Guy Boucher) over the course of his three-year career. That can be difficult on a young player, which could be why the “change of scenery” idea has been floated.

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.