The Tampa Bay Lightning have officially announced that captain Steven Stamkos underwent surgery today to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. Stamkos is not expected to return for at least four months. The announcement confirms previous reports by various media members earlier today.
Stamkos undergoes his second major injury absence in four years just months after signing a lucrative eight-year, $68MM contract in the offseason. His first was a broken tibia he sustained in the 2013-14 season that cost him 45 games. Stamkos’s latest injury is on the same leg as the first one, though it is unclear whether they are related.
The Lightning have just under $2.7MM in cap space, but could add more salary if they place Stamkos on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR). The Lightning could be looking for someone like the Arizona Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal, an impending UFA with a reasonable $3.1MM cap hit. The Coyotes are shopping Hanzal and are looking for an NHL-ready forward in return.