The Tampa Bay Lightning announced this morning that they have recalled right-handed defenseman Andrej Sustr from the Syracuse Crunch. The Lightning play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings and it appears they will be without the services of Zach Bogosian. Bogosian did not practice with the team yesterday prior to leaving on the road trip to Detroit that will continue in Washington against the Capitals on Saturday.
Andrej Sustr is a right-handed defenseman that signed with the Lightning this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He spent the past two seasons playing for Kunlun Red Star in the KHL posting 13 points in 99 games, all assists. Sustr made his NHL debut in 2012-13 with the Lightning after signing as an undrafted NCAA free agent out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He played in two games and then spent the rest of the season in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch.
He started the next season with the Crunch, playing 12 games with them before moving up to the Lightning full time in 2013-14. Sustr went to the Anaheim Ducks for the 2018-19 season and mostly played with their AHL farm team. Sustr has 324 career NHL games, 319 with the Lightning, and has posted 10 goals and 63 points in that time. Additionally, he has played in 46 playoff games with two goals and five points.
There were some questions circling yesterday about if Bogosian would be available and how the Lightning would handle the injury. The Lightning are already up against the salary cap and were in a tight spot with Cal Foote already being on injured reserve. Normally the team would carry seven defenseman, but because of salary cap considerations, they couldn’t do that to open the season, instead carrying 13 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders, with Foote on injured reserve.
When a team has no salary cap room, they are left with three options to create the space necessary to recall a player as an injury replacement.
The first is to send a player down to the minor leagues and replace them with someone else. The issue with this is that the Lightning do not have any players that are waiver exempt. So to do this, the Lightning would have had to waive someone like Taylor Raddysh or Boris Katchouk, risk them on waivers, and if they made it through, temporarily send them to Syracuse. Then that player could be replaced by another player coming up. It does not appear that the team has gone with this option since they have announced the recall before waivers time.
The second option is to play one game down a skater. After doing so, the team can then recall a player on an emergency basis and be given salary cap relief for the replacement player. This would have meant the Lightning playing with 12 forwards and five defensemen so that a player could then be recalled for Saturday’s game against the Capitals. Since the Lightning have recalled Sustr, we know they did not go this route.
The third is to place a player on Long Term Injured Reserve to give the team extra salary cap relief with which they could then recall a player. LTIR requires that a player miss at least 10 games and 28 days. The Lightning could have placed Cal Foote on LTIR, though it appears that he is close to returning. Shortly after the news of Sustr’s recall, Joe Smith of The Athletic reported that Bogosian suffered a lower body injury and will be out 4-6 weeks meaning he has been placed on LTIR to make room for Sustr.
UPDATE: Zach Bogosian is out 4-6 weeks. Lower body injury @TBLightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) October 14, 2021