Report: Teams are calling Flames about Sam Bennett

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When the Calgary Flames drafted Sam Bennett fourth overall in 2014, they expected him to develop into an impact player. Unfortunately for Bennett, the 2017-18 season hasn’t gone that way (at all).

Through 15 games, Bennett is still looking for his point of the season. Over his first three years, it’s concerning to see that his numbers have been trending down instead of up. In 2015-16 (his first full season), the 21-year-old accumulated 18 goals and 36 points in 77 games. The following season, those numbers dropped to 13 goals and 26 points.

“I’m not used to starting a season like this. It’s never happened before,” Bennett said, per the Calgary Sun. “Obviously, as much as you try to tell yourself, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ it’s still going to be there. So I’ll take one however I can get it.”

Finding Bennett a position has also been difficult for Calgary, as he’s struggled to play center at the NHL level. His struggles all over the ice haven’t gone unnoticed by people around the league. When things aren’t going well for a young forward with upside, that’s usually when other GMs try to pounce.

According to TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie, Bennett’s slow start has prompted other general managers to pick up the phone and check in on his availability.

On the most recent Insider Trading segment, McKenzie stated that the Flames don’t want to part ways with Bennett, but they also aren’t hanging up when other teams call about him.

Although a change of scenery might do him some good, it doesn’t sound like any team is offering enough assets to get him.

Unless something changes, he’ll have to play himself out of this funk in Calgary.

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.