Bad news for the Lightning as Steven Stamkos is out indefinitely with a meniscus tear in his right knee. Stamkos is leading the Lightning in goals and is third in the NHL in scoring.
The past seven months of Steven Stamkos career haven’t been kind to the 26-year-old.
Ahead of the post-season in 2015-16, Stamkos was sidelined with blood clots and forced to miss the final five games of the regular season and all but one game of Tampa Bay’s post-season run, and now, just 17 games into the new campaign, Stamkos looks as though he could be sidelined for a while due to a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
“We are in the process of evaluating options for repair and rehabilitation and will release more information as it becomes available,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement.
The injury occurred in the first period Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, and it resulted in Stamkos leaving the contest while barely putting any weight on his right leg. He made it to the bench under his own power before exiting down the tunnel, and it was announced in the second period he would not return to the game.
While no timeline was given for Stamkos’ possible return, a statement from the New Jersey Devils, made mere hours before Stamkos’ injury was announced, could give some indication of the type of timeline the Bolts star is facing. The Devils announced that winger Taylor Hall, who also suffered a torn meniscus, underwent arthroscopic surgery Wednesday and has been ruled out for 3-4 weeks, over which time he will miss roughly a dozen games for the Devils.
Of course, whether the extent of the injuries are the same is unknown at this point, but that could help give some idea of what type of recovery time Stamkos is facing.
This is the second time in his career that Stamkos has had to deal with a serious injury to his right leg, as he broke his right tibia during the early part of the 2013-14 season and was forced to miss 45 games — and a chance to represent Canada at the Olympics — due to the injury. Coincidentally, that injury was suffered nearly three years earlier to the day, on Nov. 11, 2013.
Losing Stamkos is a massive blow to the Lightning, no doubt, and even more so given how well he’s been playing thus far. In 17 games, he had notched nine goals and 20 points and is averaging nearly 18 minutes of ice time per game. He had found some solid chemistry with Nikita Kucherov — whom is tied for the league lead in scoring with 21 points — and Stamkos was only two goals off the league lead after potting his ninth goal of the campaign minutes before suffering the injury.
The loss of Stamkos could be lessened by the return of Jonathan Drouin, who has missed the past seven games with an upper-body injury, but there’s no clearcut timeline for his return, either. Drouin, 21, has been skating in a non-contact jersey in practice, however, which could signal that he’s on his way to getting back in the lineup.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Get 10 issues of The Hockey News magazine for just $15.99!