What’s next for Tony DeAngelo, Rangers after defenseman clears waivers?

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[UPDATE: DeAngelo has played his last game with the Rangers, says GM Jeff Gorton.]

Tony DeAngelo was not claimed by any NHL team Monday after the Rangers placed him on waivers.

Since Sunday’s news, there have been rumors about what prompted the team’s decision. A fight outside the Rangers dressing room after Saturday’s overtime loss to the Penguins is one story being reported by the New York Post’s Larry Brooks and The Athletic’s Rick Carpinello.

“There’s always rumors, so I’m not going to address rumors,” Rangers head coach David Quinn said Sunday. “This isn’t about one incident, it’s not about one thing. This is a situation the organization felt was best at this current time. We’ll see how the situation plays out.”

While he’s cleared waivers, DeAngelo’s career with the Rangers appears over. You don’t waive a player you signed to a two-year, $9.6M deal in October because of an on-ice miscommunication or locker room scrap. Whatever led to the team down this route was serious enough that they were fine losing him for free or, since it’s now the case, sitting him until this matter is resolved.

[MORE: Your 2020-21 NHL On NBC TV Schedule]

What now for the Rangers? According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the team and Pat Brisson, DeAngelo’s agent, are working on next steps. There were no trade takers for the defenseman in the off-season, and now that he’s signed through the end of next season, and has baggage attached to him, how busy is GM Jeff Gorton‘s phone?

DeAngelo’s contract carries a $4.8M cap hit through the end of the 2021-22 season with a salary jump from $4.3M to $5.3M, per CapFriendly. His offensive numbers are not good though six games (one assist) and the save percentage when he’s on the ice is a paltry 75%, per Evolving Hockey. If there is a trade to be made, the Rangers will have to eat a chunk of that money or receive a contract in return.

Sending him to AHL Hartford is another option, but if management doesn’t want him around their NHL players why would they want him in a room with their prospects? A demotion would save the Rangers $1.075M from their salary cap.

Can the Rangers try to terminate DeAngelo’s contract, claiming some sort of breach? They can try, but the players’ union will likely contest that move. He can be bought out for one-third of the remaining value in the off-season, and New York — or any team acquiring him — would carry $383,333 next season and $883,333 in 2022-23 on their cap.

DeAngelo did not practice with the team on Sunday and Quinn said Anthony Bitetto will make his Rangers debut on the blue line Monday versus the Penguins (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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.