The Bolts have suffered some crucial losses due to injury this 2016-2017 season. As a huge prospect for the 2017 playoffs, the Lightning has been closely watched by fans and the rest of the Atlantic division.
Several key players for the Lightning are out day-to-day on injury. These players include, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Braydon Coburn and J.T Brown. All of these injuries occurred within the past 2 weeks. Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Cedric Paquette also dealt with day-to-day injuries earlier this season.
In mid-November, the Bolts lost captain Steven Stamkos to a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. A few days after Stamkos’ injury, SB Nation reported the 26-year-old center would be out approximately 1-3 months.
Losing “Stammer” was a devastating blow to the Bolts, but they held their confidence. The team played without Stamkos for most of the 2016 playoffs and they were determined to prove they could do it again.
Unfortunately, at the end of December the Bolts lost another star player. Ben Bishop suffered a lower-body injury from a stretch save against the Detroit Red Wings. The player has a history of groin injuries. Although it is unclear what the injury is, he was projected to be out 3-4 weeks. We could see him back on the ice by the end of the month.
Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced Bishop as a starter. Kristers Gudlevskis has been pulled up from the AHL Syracuse Crunch – the Bolts minor league team – to be alternating backups.
Brayden Point began his NHL career with the Lightning in the beginning of the season. The 20-year-old center proved to be an asset on the team. Out of 36 games played he scored 3 goals and had 12 assists. However it seems the Lightning hit another streak of bad luck. Eight days after Bishop’s injury, Brayden Point suffered an upper-body injury. The rookie is out for 4-6 weeks.
Gudlevskis is not the only player brought up from the Crunch. The Bolts have made up for these losses throughout the season by calling up players from the Syracuse Crunch, who have proven they are more than ready to play in the big leagues. Among these players is, forward Matthew Peca. He scored is first NHL career goal in his 4th NHL game, making him the first Quinnipiac alumni to score a goal in the NHL.
Although the Lightning have struggled with injuries this season, there is good news for the team. As of six hours ago, the Lightning’s Twitter page announced Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov have been selected for the 2017 NHL All-Star game. This is the first time either of the players have been selected.
The Bolts will face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The organization will also retire Martin St. Louis #26 jersey on Friday.