The Tampa Bay Lightning have been dealt a huge blow to their forward group, announcing today that Ondrej Palat would be out for six to eight weeks with a lower-body injury. Palat suffered the injury at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, likely when Jared Spurgeon speared him in front of the net.
One of Tampa Bay’s most consistent two-way players, Palat has 30 points on the season and has received Selke votes three times in his career as one of the league’s best defensive forwards. His loss will be felt at both ends of the rink for the Lightning, whose lead in the Atlantic Division is slipping after losing three games in a row.
Eight weeks would put Palat’s return around March 19th, meaning the team will have to navigate the trade deadline without him. Whether that means the Lightning will go out and add to their forward group is unclear, but with Victor Hedman also out at the moment their overall skill level has taken a huge hit.