The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without franchise forward Steven Stamkos for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs as he will have surgery Monday to repair a core muscle injury.
Lingering Injury Has Hampered Stamkos
The injury forced the prolific point producer to leave Tuesday’s game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs and kept him out of Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. It also made him miss three games earlier in February.
This is the first time the star centre will miss extended time since 2016-17, when he suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee in November and missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
In 57 games this season, Stamkos has 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points. He scored his 400th-career goal against the Winnipeg Jets in November.
Stamkos was not made available to the media Saturday.
Stamkos Will Miss Rest of Regular Season, Start of Playoffs
Obviously, Stamkos’ absence leaves the Lightning with a huge hole in the middle and on their power play, which has been abysmal recently. Brayden Point has moved between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov in the captain’s stead.
The recovery and rehabilitation time is estimated to be six-to-eight weeks, the Lightning reported, which means Stamkos will miss the rest of the regular season.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin April 8, five weeks from now. It’s conceivable Stamkos could be back in time for the second round if the Lightning — currently sitting 40-19-5 and second in the Atlantic Division — advance that far.