Lightning’s Stamkos to be limited in camp due to new lower-body injury

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois spoke about his excitement for the modified playoff format and why he thinks this will be the toughest Stanley Cup to claim.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will be a limited participant in training camp but is expected to play in the playoffs after suffering a lower-body injury during Phase 2 skates.

General manager Julien BriseBois announced the news in a conference call with reporters Saturday morning, adding that Stamkos is currently rehabbing at team facilities.

“We don’t have a specific timeline for when he will be a full participant in camp but we expect he will be ready in time for games,” BriseBois said.

BriseBois also clarified that the injury is different than the core muscle issue that shut Stamkos down in late February and required surgery. That injury initially carried a six-to-eight week recovery timeline and Stamkos took advantage of the pandemic to rest and recover.

“He improves every single day,” head coach Jon Cooper said in April of his captain. “I know he’s worked hard to get back. A lot of it had to do with rest, which he’s been getting.”

Stamkos was on pace for his sixth career 40-goal season before his core muscle injury. In 57 games this season, he had 29 goals and 66 points.

With Stamkos unavailable to start camp, 23-year-old forward Alex Barre-Boulet has been added to the team’s roster, BriseBois said.

Additionally, BriseBois said Saturday that no Lightning players had informed him yet that they were going to opt out of the NHL’s return-to-play plan. Players have until Monday at 5 p.m. ET to do so without consequence.

The Lightning open round-robin play before the playoffs with a game against the Washington Capitals on Aug. 3 in Toronto.

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