It was learned last week that forward Tom Pyatt, who has been out since game 3 of this NHL season with thanks to a broken collarbone suffered during that contest with the Buffalo Sabres, is not ready to return to action. This is despite Pyatt recently skating with the team during practice, wearing the red, no-contact jersey. Pyatt had been slated to return around Thanksgiving from the injury, but a bone scan revealed he's just not healed yet.
So, another two weeks without Pyatt. Or more.
You have to figure Pyatt will be away from the Lightning longer than another fortnight (this is not to give a pessimistic view of his recovery), and that's because he's in sore need of conditioning at game speed. Having played only one (partial) game this season with the Lightning before going down for an extended period of time, simply jumping back into the fray when given the green light may not be the wisest of choices.
That's not saying the Bolts will keep him out once he's considered healthy, it's more along the lines of suggesting that Pyatt get a two week conditioning stint with the Syracuse Crunch to get back into game shape. A conditioning stint in the AHL does not require waivers to send a player down for that two-week period. The Crunch, battling their own injury issues along with a multitude of recalls by the Lightning, could use the presence of an NHL veteran for as brief a time as it would be.
A Pyatt conditioning-stint conclusion would result in someone from the Lightning being returned to Syracuse - be it Nikita Kucherov, J.T. Brown, Dana Tyrell, or someone else.
No one from the Lightning has indicated Pyatt would be given that brief stint for conditioning. It's just speculation on my part. It makes some sense though as you don't want Pyatt coming in cold. He has more value than playing sheltered minutes.
Pyatt's situation doesn't heal the Lightning in general; Ryan Malone is now out with a bone chip in his ankle, Radko Gudas has been out a week after an incident in Anaheim, Pierre-Cedric Labrie "tweaked something" during a fight against the New York Rangers and is day-to-day (along with the rest of us). Yet Pyatt is a key cog in that he plays a position the Bolts are suddenly short at - center. Between the Steven Stamkos injury and Vladislav Namestnikov's broken hand for Syracuse, the Lightning organization suddenly lacks depth at center and can use help at all levels.