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.
With the LTIR retroactive to April 9, Steven Stamkos - who already missed three games - not eligible to return until May 5. https://t.co/LRG04WqpVt— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) April 16, 2021
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.
Who plays first?
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Both in Game 1 of the First Round
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.
Playoff chances over the past fortnight. Montreal falling out at this point is not likely but I would enjoy watching it, personally. pic.twitter.com/wCVHCONwHX— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) April 15, 2021
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
“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.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy has an assist for the Lightning tonight, his third of the season. Ties Pittsburgh's Tristan Jarry for most goalie points in the league.— Marisa Ingemi (@Marisa_Ingemi) April 16, 2021
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.
Can’t confirm @FriedgeHNIC’s report, but an NHL source indicates: “Looks like the games will move”.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) April 15, 2021
Team sources with TOR/VAN don’t appear to have confirmation.#Canucks players expecting to play Sunday and Monday, with an extra 48 hours - and 2 on-ice sessions - to get ready.
The variant strain has impacted the Canucks differently and more severely than the previous CoVid cases around the league. Players are still sick. Concern for some they may not be able to return this season. NHL scheduling and rescheduling is recognizing day by day issues.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 15, 2021
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 athletic's jason spezza piece today is great, but this is my favourite quote, given how often we here this narrative from The Hockey Men® pic.twitter.com/qYFjkCV66I— bobby cappucino (@bobbycappucino) April 15, 2021
The OHL keeps saying they’ll have a season, but they won’t.
NEW: The OHL season has been benched until further notice as Ontario tries to grapple with record COVID-19 numbers.— David Hains (@DavidHains) April 15, 2021
Picture of the day: