Last season, the Columbus Blue Jackets suffered from injury after injury. They had a good team, they had a lot of talent. They just couldn't get healthy and put it together. The team had looked better late in the season as they started to return some of their talent to the lineup, but it was too little too late for them to get back into the playoff hunt. This season it feels like the Tampa Bay Lightning are in much the same position with all of the injuries they've struggled through, especially among the forwards. So here's the M*A*S*H roll call of games lost so far to injury in 2015-16:.
|Player||Games Lost||Current Status|
|Colonel Mattias Ohlund||32 games||Long Term Injured Reserve, knees shot, Out for the season|
|Major Cedric Paquette||20 games||Injured Reserve, Not on road trip, return eminent... Hopefully|
|Captain Ondrej Palat||14 games||Re-injured ankle Saturday night, still recovering|
|Captain Jonathan Drouin||14 games||Lower body injury, not on road trip, return timetable unknown|
|Staff Sargent Tyler Johnson||9 games||Middle body injury, return eminent... Hopefully|
|Sargent Erik Condra||5 games||Still out. returning soonish...|
|Corporal Brian Boyle||3 games||Playing. Thankfully.|
|Private Ryan Callahan||1 game||Playing. Thankfully.|
|Private Victor Hedman||1 game||Playing. Thankfully.|
|Private Alex Killorn||1 game||Playing. Thankfully.|
|Private Joel Vermin||1 game||Injured versus Columbus. The replacements need replacing now.|
One of the biggest differences between Columbus' situation last season and the Lightning's this season is that most of the injuries suffered have not been long term or season ending injuries. We also have not suffered an injury to a goaltender and Victor Hedman is the only blueliner to miss a game this season. While the defensemen have had their struggles with performance, health has not been one of them.
The constant in-and-out nature of the injuries among the forwards has helped cause a lack of chemistry. When the Triplets have been together, their passes have been just off, their ability to anticipate each other hasn't quite been the same. This has forced the Lightning into being a little less skill and fancy focused and a bit more north-south focused. Which is good. It means that when the team does find chemistry again, that they'll be able to handle doing both depending on what the opposing teams give them.
It's still a struggle, to have three top-six caliber forwards missing this much time. It's pushing guys up the lineup that maybe shouldn't have as many minutes. The team is still adjusting, but will they adjust quickly enough? Will enough talent return in time to get back into the playoff hunt? Time will tell.