Tough news out of Tampa Bay this morning: the Lightning announced that veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks after aggravating a knee injury that required surgery this off-season. Damian Cristodero has the news.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund will be out at least two weeks with inflammation in his right knee, GM Steve Yzerman said. Captain Vinny Lecavalier also missed Monday’s practice with a foot contusion sustained Saturday against the Panthers. It is not considered serious. As for Ohlund it is the same knee on which Ohlund was scoped during the summer. Yzerman said Ohlund had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the irritation. Ohlund also has fluid on the knee. Yzerman said no other decisions on treatments will be made until it is seen how the knee reacts to rest. The good news for Tampa Bay is defenseman Randy Jones (finger) is back at practice, giving the team eight healthy blueliners. The team must decide whether to go with seven or eight defensemen by 3 p.m. Wednesday, when the 23-man rosters must be submitted to the league.
The 34-year-old defenseman’s knee issues must be a worry to GM Steve Yzerman and the Lightning brass in general. Only Vincent Lecavalier owns a longer term contract with Tampa Bay, as Ohlund’s deal runs all the way through the 2015-16 season and costs an annual salary cap hit of $3.067 million according to CapGeek.com.
It’s natural to wonder if Yzerman & Co. are hoping they can buy Ohlund out or send him to the minors at some point. While his slightly above $3 million cap hit is far from an abomination, it might become quite cumbersome as the team deals with current contracts for Lecavalier and St. Louis while trying to retain Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and possibly Simon Gagne.
As Cristodero noted, the Lightning have some depth-based decisions to make and could elect to go with eight defensemen in order to give themselves options while Ohlund is out.