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Lightning Round: Steven Stamkos on LTIR, out until May

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what does this mean for Nikita Kucherov?

Detroit Red Wings v Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 4: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at Amalie Arena on April 4, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed captain Steven Stamkos on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) retroactive to April 9th. This means that he is unavailable until May 5th, four games before the end of the season. Stamkos has 17 goals and 34 points in 38 games this season, tied for 15th in the league in goals. He’s also second in the league in power play goals.

LTIR forces the player to miss at least 10 games or 24 days, but the Lightning receive $8.5 million in LTIR pool money that they can spend until Stamkos comes back. The Lightning would not have been able to add a player outright via a trade at the deadline because, one, they didn’t have this diagnosis until yesterday, and two, it appears the Lightning want Stamkos back before the end of the season, which he is eligible to do.

Now, if Stamkos isn’t healed until the playoffs, and his teammate Nikita Kucherov is, the Lightning could potentially activate the younger superstar winger. It would require the Lightning to send down two players (for example Alex Barre-Boulet and Ross Colton) and run a 20-man roster for the last couple days. The money in this scenario would be extremely tight and wouldn’t allow there to be any spares. Another complication is the status of Jan Rutta. If he’s healthy, I can’t figure out a way to bring one of the two forwards back from LTIR.

Poll

Who plays first?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Stamkos
    (28 votes)
  • 45%
    Kucherov
    (77 votes)
  • 38%
    Both in Game 1 of the First Round
    (65 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

Now, there’s nothing really to worry about with this, since the Lightning are almost certainly going to make the playoffs, and there’s no salary cap in the playoffs. When things matter, the Lightning will have everyone they need. I think the reason why the team will want to bring Stamkos or Kucherov back early is so that they can get back into game speed and prove to themselves they’re ready for the playoffs. Kucherov hasn’t played since September, it would be good to get him in a game before the elimination rounds.

Lightning Links

Transactions made at 5pm yesterday:

  • Ben Thomas has been sent back to the Syracuse Crunch
  • Fredrik Claesson has been assigned from the AHL to the Lightning Taxi Squad
  • Alex Barre-Boulet was placed on the NHL active roster from the Taxi Squad (played last night)
  • Steven Stamkos on LTIR

Speaking of playing last night, the Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 last night. [Raw Charge]

“After getting embarrassed in their previous game 7-2 by the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning showed signs of life this evening in their 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Outplayed for large swaths of the game, the Lightning did just enough to get by their division rival and lock in another critical two points in the standings.”

After JT Miller called out the NHL for rushing the Vancouver Canucks back after a severe COVID-19 outbreak, they have been given two extra days to prepare for the restart of their season (Sunday). Good news, they now have to play 19 games in 28 days. There will be a new schedule for the North Division sent out on Friday that will obviously make adjustments since it’s absurd to ask any team to play on average two games every three days. At this point, the NHL has to reduce the schedule for the Canucks to a healthier number, or extend their season into the playoffs. Since the Canucks are not technically eliminated from the playoffs, they can’t do the second option, so chop chop, cut some games.

Jason Spezza was asked about having tough guys in the lineup who fight. Hockey’s Men have a theory is that it gives a boost to the players on the bench, though the 37-year-old Spezza deflated their romanticized caveman notion by simply saying the players like it because they get more ice-time with goons in the box or in the showers.

The OHL keeps saying they’ll have a season, but they won’t.

Picture of the day: