Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos will be out one to three months in order to treat a type of vascular thoracic outlet syndrome near his right collarbone. Stamkos will be having surgery on Monday and is expected to fully recover.
On Saturday, the 26-year-old missed his first game of the season due to what was listed as an upper body injury.
After the game, the team announced that Stamkos had a blood clot in his arm. He didn’t participate in Friday or Saturday’s morning skate.
In 77 games this season, Stamkos has 36 goals and 64 points.
“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 said. “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.”
According to general manager Steve Yzerman, Stamkos went to the doctor after Thursday’s game with discomfort in his arm and swelling and tingling in his fingers. On Friday, he was assessed by local doctors. Monday’s surgery will be followed by a regimen of medicine to help break down the clot.
Stamkos has been in the news an awful lot this year thanks to his contract situation. He’s in the final year of his current five-year deal and is slated for unrestricted free agency come summer. Yzerman has stated his intentions to work on a contract to keep his player in Tampa.
Interestingly, Stamkos isn’t the first player to contend with a blood clot of this nature. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy missed the first month of the season after surgery to remove a blood clot near his collarbone.
As far as replacing Stamkos goes in the short-term, Yzerman has batted around an interesting name: Jonathan Drouin. He said that there is no immediate plan to call anyone up, but the beleaguered and recently suspended 21-year-old is “something we will consider.”
Tampa will also have to make do without defenceman Anton Stralman, who is out indefinitely with a non-displaced fracture of the left fibula.
The team still hasn’t clinched a playoff berth, but they’re two points behind Florida Panthers.