Injuries to several key players have helped make the Tampa Bay Lightning almost unrecognizable at times this season as they have to keep inserting new players into the lineup.
Over the past three weeks alone they have already had two players — Tanner Richard and Matthew Peca — make their NHL debut.
Now they could have a third new player make his debut on Tuesday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets.
With Brian Boyle (lower body) injured in Tampa Bay’s 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on New Years Eve, the team had to call up forward Adam Erne from the American Hockey League on Monday. Coach Jon Cooper said there is “a good chance” that Erne will be in the lineup on Tuesday against Winnipeg, via the Tampa Bay Times. Erne practice with the team on Monday on a line with Michael Bournival and J.T. Brown, according to the Times.
The Lightning selected Erne in the second round (No. 33 overall) of the 2013 NHL draft. He scored 14 goals and added 15 assists in 59 games for the Syracuse Crunch during the 2015-16 season, his first year of pro hockey. So far this season he has eight goals and 10 assists in 31 games for the Crunch.
Along with Boyle the Lightning are also without Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Cedric Paquette, and starting goaltender Ben Bishop. Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin have also all missed at least six games this season.
As of Monday evening the Lightning are two points out of a playoff spot, trailing the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division with what will be two games in hand entering play on Tuesday.