Following the expansion draft it was revealed that Yanni Gourde underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the first few months of the 2021-22 season, his first with the Seattle Kraken. I’m not sure about you, but I for one, assumed that it was an injury he suffered in the most recent playoffs. You know, how those things happen - a player breaks something and the team doesn’t reveal the extent of the injury until after the playoffs happen.
Well, it seems that Gourde has been dealing with a bum shoulder for a little longer than the Lightning’s playoff run this past season. As in 18 months. I’m no math major but that would mean he has dealt with the discomfort since January/February of 2020. That makes two playoff runs and a partial season he found a way to excel at hockey despite limited mobility in his shoulder, yet he still played with his usual abandon.
Seattle General Manager Ron Francis knew about the injury when he selected Gourde from the Lightning and seems confident that the young forward can bounce back once his rehab is done. Gourde should slot in as a top center for a team that is going to need offense. Missing a month or two might keep him from hitting the 20 goal mark next season, but the year after that, with the right linemates he might find himself in the 25-30 goal territory.
It is possible that he could be ready to go by the time Seattle plays in Tampa on November 25th? Early estimates have him coming back in December, but you never know. It would make for a nice story, wouldn’t it?
Joe Smith ran a mailbag over at The Athletic the other day where he dealt with Ross Colton’s contract, Ondrej Palat’s future, and other various topics regarding the Lightning. Lots of concern about Steven Stamkos retiring or getting traded out there among Lightning fans. [The Athletic]
I see no lies here.
Heading back to The Athletic (yes, subscription still required) Scott Wheeler recapped every drafted player that participated in Team Canada’s showcase for under-18 and under-20 players. That group included Lightning prospect Jack Thompson. In short, Wheeler mentioned that Thompson played his “sturdy, physically engaged style”. Unfortunately, Wheeler doesn’t think it’s enough for Thompson to make the U20 team for the upcoming World Juniors. [The Athletic]
There is some positive news for Sonya Bryson-Kirksey. The Lightning’s anthem singer has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit and into a regular hospital room as she continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 virus. [Tampa Bay Times]
Alex Ovechkin will be in the NHL for the next five seasons thanks to his $47.5 million contract he signed this offseason. With labor peace in the NHL and his proficiency at scoring goals, there is a reasonable chance he breaks Wayne Gretzky’s goal record. Here’s a look at the behind the scenes process at getting the deal done. [ESPN]
It’s been a struggle for the New Jersey Devils over the last few seasons, but they are trying to build a winning culture. Not only that, but they want to build a family [Insert Dom Toretto “family” meme here]. [NHL.com]