The NHL has announced official dates for the 2020 draft and the opening of the free agency period this off-season.
As we’ve seen with other sports, the 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually. Round 1 will take place Tuesday, Oct. 6 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Rounds 2-7 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Both days will air on NBCSN.
The Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 draft lottery last month and will select first overall. Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) winger Alexis Lafreniere is expected to go No. 1.
ROUND 1 ORDER
1. New York Rangers
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (via San Jose)
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Buffalo Sabres
9. Minnesota Wild
10. Winnipeg Jets
11. Nashville Predators
12. Florida Panthers
13. Carolina Hurricanes (via Toronto)
14. Edmonton Oilers
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Pittsburgh)
The final 16 picks will be finalized following the conclusion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
October Free Agent Frenzy
At 12 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 9, the NHL free agent market will open.
On that day unrestricted free agents like Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom could find new homes if they don’t sign extensions with their current teams. And if you’re Marc Bergevin, restricted free agents like Mathew Barzal, Dominik Kubalik, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Anthony Cirelli are eligible for offer sheets.
The NHL salary cap ceiling for the 2020-21 season will remain at $81.5M, which will make for an interesting market for teams who need to shed dollars due to raises or to add new players.
[RELATED: Looking at the top 2020 free agents]
For teams looking to create some space and/or have roster decisions to make at certain positions — Hello, Rangers! — the NHL buyout window will open Sept. 25 and close Oct. 8. The closing date could be six days after the Stanley Cup Final concludes if that date is later.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
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.
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.
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.
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.