Steven Stamkos has been placed on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury, the Lightning announced Thursday.
Stamos suffered the injury during an April 8 game against Columbus and did not play the final two games of Tampa’s four-game road trip.
The move is retroactive to April 9 and Stamkos cannot be activated until after 24 days/10 games from that date. The earliest the Lightning captain will be able to return to the lineup is May 3 when Tampa has four regular season games remaining.
In 38 games this season Stamkos has 17 goals and 34 points.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said on Friday that they will know within a day if the injury to related to the core muscle issue that affected the forward during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stamkos played one playoff game — Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final — during the team’s championship run.
“By no means are we saying that his season is over,” Cooper said. “This is just something that he has to go through here for a little bit and, for us, so he’s in tip-top shape if we make the playoffs.”
The Lightning will now have two big pieces on LTIR, with Steven Stamkos joining Nikita Kucherov, who has missed the entire regular season after hip surgery. Kucherov, who has been skating, is not expected to play again until the postseason.