Steven Stamkos’ career with the Tampa Bay Lightning may very well be over. Stamkos was scratched from the Lightning roster before Saturday’s matchup with New Jersey and GM Steve Yzerman announced later in the day that the Captain will undergo vascular surgery and will miss 1-3 months. ESPN reports that the operation is to fix a blood clot.
It seems that Tampa Bay just can’t catch a break. After early season struggles and the whole Jonathan Drouin saga were finally put to rest, the Lightning resurrected their season and brought themselves back into playoff contention. With a berth well within the team’s grasp, it’s top star is now out.
“Obviously this situation is extremely disappointing because I wanted to help my team clinch a playoff spot and prepare for the start of the postseason,” Stamkos’ official statement read. “During my recovery I will do all I can to help my teammates, and I hope to rejoin them soon in the Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Unfortunately for Stammer, unless his team goes back to the Stanley Cup Finals once again, he likely will not return this year. And, seeing as almost every NHL analyst on the planet predicts he won’t return to Tampa Bay after this season, it is quite possible that Stamkos has donned a Lightning jersey for the final time.
The injury puts a real fork in Tampa Bay’s chances this year. Don’t get me wrong, Tampa Bay is a deep team and have much more talent beyond its franchise player, but the 26-year-old is the core of the Lightning offensive and he brings out the best in everyone around him. That is an incredibly tough role to replace.
Does this spell doom for the Lightning? Could Steven Stamkos’ career with Tampa Bay be over? Am I asking all these questions like the narrator from Dragon Ball Z? Be sure to let us know, tweet @FromThe300Level.
Matthew Morris: @Flat_Manigen74