The Tampa Bay Lightning placed captain Steven Stamkos on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury, the team announced Thursday. The move is retroactive to April 9.
Injury update: Steven Stamkos has been retroactively placed on LTI starting April 9 with a lower-body injury.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 16, 2021
Stamkos last played against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 8, leaving in the third period after one shift. He is scheduled to come off long-term injured reserve on May 2, when the regular season nears a close.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Thursday he didn't expect Stamkos to play "for the rest of the week," according to Bolts beat reporter Bryan Burns.
Lightning forward Patrick Maroon reiterated Friday that Stamkos being sidelined is a "huge loss" for Tampa Bay, adding that he is the leader, per The Athletic's Joe Smith.
Pat Maroon on Steven Stamkos: “I just feel bad for Stammer. I feel like he can’t catch a bounce right now. He’s been positive. But it’s a huge loss for us. He’s our captain, our leader. He’s going through a tough road here.” #tblightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) April 16, 2021
Stamkos joins Nikita Kucherov, who has missed the entire regular season after hip surgery, on long-term injured reserve. Kucherov isn't expected to return until the playoffs.
The Lightning are seen as the best team in the Central Division, though they are second behind the Carolina Hurricanes with a 29-12-2 record.