Lightning announce Stamkos’ successful surgery


The Tampa Bay Lightning passed along a statement about Steven Stamkos’ successful surgery on a broken right tibia Tuesday:

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos underwent successful surgery this afternoon in Boston to stabilize a fracture in his right tibia. He is expected to return to Tampa on Thursday to begin rehabilitation immediately, the team announced. A prospective timetable has not yet been set for his return to the ice.

Stamkos had a metal rod inserted in his leg the length of his tibia, which will be a “permanent part of his body,” according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Damian Cristodero.

As you can see, the team isn’t providing a window for return (just that his rehab will begin on Thursday). TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that there’s an “unofficial prognosis” of three months and floats some extra incentive for hitting that mark:

It certainly makes sense that Stamkos would want to play for Canada, as the 23-year-old is one of the few virtual locks when healthy. Still, he’s just 23 … is that worth the risk of possibly rushing back too soon?

There’s plenty of time to wring hands over that, though. The good news is that the surgery seemed to go well.

In other Lightning injury news, the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson reports that Keith Aulie (upper body) was placed on the injured reserve.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.