PHT Morning Skate: Penguins GM search continues; MacKinnon ‘week-to-week’

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit for the PHT Morning Skate? Email us at

• The Rangers have granted permission for the Penguins to speak with assistant GM Chris Drury for their open GM position. Also on their list is John Ferguson Jr. [Pensburgh]

• A lower-body injury will keep Nathan MacKinnon out “week-to-week” for the Avalanche. [NHL]

• As of Monday, NHL teams — except Vegas — are now able to request that a player waives his no-move clause for the Seattle Expansion Draft. The window will remain open until July 13.  [TSN]

• NWHL heads into semifinals after second team withdraws from tournament. [PHT]

• Taking a look at the Toronto vs. Buffalo and Boston vs. Minnesota NWHL semifinal matchups. [On Her Turf]

• “If the NWHL wants to be taken seriously in the hearts and minds of the sports consumer, perhaps it’s time it started comporting itself in the way that a major sports league would. If the Whale left the bubble out of fears of COVID or because of an outbreak, there’s no shame in letting people know that. If the exit was not COVID-related, then there’s some serious explaining to do. And it’s up to the league stand up, be accountable and tell people exactly what happened. You don’t leave something like this to the team to explain away any way it sees fit.” [The Hockey News]

• The Senators and Matt Murray are trying to find some positives following a disastrous start to the season. [Ottawa Sun]

• Here are the words of Shea Weber‘s current and former teammates as the defenseman hits 1,000 games played. [Sportsnet]

• How Kung Fu has helped former NHLer Bret Hedican in his post-hockey life. [NBC Sports Bay Area]

• A healthy roster and weak schedule could bode well for the Bruins in February. [NBC Sports Boston]

• The Elite Ice Hockey League will not have a 2020-21 season. [EIHL]

• The fun story of a New Jersey man receiving a shipment of sticks meant for Zdeno Chara. [ESPN]

• Barry Trotz made some adjustments to get the Islanders’ second line going. [NY Hockey Now]

Ty Smith of the Devils has been one of this season’s early fantasy hockey standouts. [Rotoworld]


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

Scroll Down For:

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

    Harry How/Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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

    tampa bay lightning
    Scott Audette/Getty Images

    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

    Rasmus Sandin
    Julian Avram/Getty Images

    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.