Lightning expect Steven Stamkos to ready for start of 2020-21 NHL season

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Steven Stamkos is expected to be ready for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois said on Thursday.

The Tampa captain played one game during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs — Game 3 of the Cup Final — and scored a goal in a total of 2:47 of ice time. Three games later the Lightning captured the second title in franchise history.

According to BriseBois, Stamkos, who had sports hernia surgery in early March, suffered a new injury during Phase 2 of the NHL Return to Play in July.

“He did a tremendous job rehabbing during the pause and getting himself ready, but as it happens, sometimes with all injuries but this injury in particular, sometimes your body compensates and it eventually triggered what we believe is a compensation injury,” BriseBois said. “We’re talking about weeks of rehab, not months of rehab, and we fully expect him to be ready for the start of training camp, whenever that will be.”

[Stamkos on Game 3 return: ‘It was a dream come true’]

BriseBois said that the 30-year-old Stamkos being in the bubble made the situation difficult as far as getting treatment.

“If he goes out of the bubble, now he’s got to quarantine again,” BriseBois said. “What’s the trade off? He wants to be around the team. We want him around the team. It certainly complicated matters, and I will know more next week [after Stamkos sees a specialist].”

The good thing is that any sort of rehab Stamkos will need will require weeks, not months. That expectation is why BriseBois and the Lightning are confident he’ll be on the ice whenever their Stanley Cup defense begins.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.