The Tampa Bay Times projects winger J.T. Brown was expected to be with the Lightning this season. But a broken collarbone sustained Friday while playing for AHL Syracuse ensured he will be sidelined if, as hoped, the NHL begins playing games by Jan. 19.
Brown, 22, needs surgery to repair a displaced fracture and will be out six to eight weeks, Crunch coach Jon Cooper said.
“He was just coming into his own,” Cooper said Saturday. “In that regard, it’s a tough injury.”
Brown, who has six goals, 17 points in 26 games, was hurt during the first period of a 4-2 victory over Norfolk when driven into the corner boards with what Cooper called a clean but hard hit from Admirals defenseman Mat Clark.
Brown last season had one assist in five games for the Lightning after being signed as a free agent out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“He showed last year that he could hold his own on the NHL level, so we have no doubt that he can,” Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “But right now he’s hurt, and the focus is on getting him back as quickly as possible.”