Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has undergone surgery to stabilize a fractured tibia and fibula in his left leg, per a statement from the team. No formal timetable for a return has been established, though head coach Jon Cooper told reporters including Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times that he will be out for at least the remainder of the regular season. Sergachev suffered the injury in the second period of Tampa Bay’s Wednesday night loss to the New York Rangers. He was making his return from a separate lower-body injury that earned him a place on long-term injured reserve in December.
Sergachev has only appeared in 34 of Tampa’s 50 games this season, though his 19 points rank second among the team’s defensemen in scoring. He’s been clearly valuable to the team when he’s healthy, averaging over 22 minutes a night for the third season in a row. The 25-year-old is in the eighth season of his NHL career, totaling 475 career games and 257 career points. All but four of those games have come with Tampa Bay, who acquired the defenseman in a one-for-one swap with the Montreal Canadiens in 2017, sending Jonathan Drouin the other way.
Tampa Bay has leaned on multiple defensemen to fill in for Sergachev’s absence, with Calvin De Haan the most likely to slot in right away. De Haan has seven points through 45 games this season, playing in just over 16 minutes a night. The Lightning could also have Haydn Fleury as an extra on the NHL roster. Fleury has four points through 12 games this season. He’s also appeared in five AHL games, going without a point and recording six penalty minutes.