I’ll declare a New Year’s resolution for the Tampa Bay Lightning: stay healthy.
The Bolts ended 2016 on a strong note. They beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in the final game of the year. However, the team is carrying a plethora of issues into the new year with them. First and foremost, the Lightning are banged up. It seems like a name gets added to the injury report after every period of play. Veteran forward Ryan Callahan is still struggling with a hip issue that he had surgery to repair during the offseason. Callahan returned earlier than expected after the surgery and now is concerned that his eagerness to get back on the ice may have cost him more time. He’s only played in 15 games so far this year.
Rookie forward Brayden Point will miss at least the next four weeks and maybe as many as six. He recently suffered an upper body injury. The rookie has 15 points in 36 games. He’s been filtering through the top two lines to help shore up the injured offense and has been electric so far.
Goalie Ben Bishop’s return is at least three weeks away. At least Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked solid.
Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat have thankfully been reactivated. They need to stay healthy. Despite Palat’s struggles this season, he’s desperately needed back in the mix.
Cedric Pacquette and Vladislav Namestnikov are sidelines with day-to-day injuries.
The forwards are depleted. Defender Nikita Nesterov is transitioning to forward and playing on the fourth line. Connecticut-born Adam Erne is the latest name to be recalled from the AHL. How long until he goes down with a lower-body injury?