Lightning sign franchise netminder Vasilevskiy to eight-year extension

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The Tampa Bay Lightning locked up one of the faces of their franchise for the foreseeable future, as they signed goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension on Monday. Vasilevskiy’s agent, Dan Milstein, made the announcement via his Twitter account. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Vasilevskiy’s new cap hit will come in at around $9.5 million per year. The contract also comes with almost $45 million in bonuses.

The 25-year-old is now under team control for the next nine years because he still has one year remaining on his current deal which will pay him $3.5 million next season. He still isn’t the goalie with the highest AAV in the league, as that honor belongs to Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who’s cap hit comes in at $10.5 million per season.

He’ll also earn $500,000 less per year than Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed with the Florida Panthers over the summer. But Vasilevskiy is in a comfortable situation surrounded by great players, so he’s probably more than happy to save a little money for his teammates.

“I’m very excited to sign this extension with the Lightning today,” Vasilevskiy said in a team release. “I’d like to thank the entire organization, including Mr. Vinik, Julien BriseBois and the great Bolts fans, for making this such a great place to play and live for me and my family.”

On the ice, Vasilevskiy has been terrific. He won the Vezina Trophy this year by posting an incredible 39-10-4 record with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage last season.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]

As important as it was for the Lightning to lock him up, there’s no denying that this new deal will make things even tighter for them on the salary cap next season. They Bolts still have to sign restricted free agent Brayden Point, who will command a significant raise from his entry-level contract. General manager Julien BriseBois will have to get creative in order to fill out his roster.

As you can tell from the salary breakdown above, the large bonuses make this deal very lockout proof.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Blackhawks F Katchouk will be 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 Sunday.

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.