TAMPA — With less than two weeks before the Lightning are scheduled to start training camp, the team might be minus one of its top players.
Winger Nikita Kucherov received an injection last week for a hip injury, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic. If Kucherov reacts well to the shot, all is well, LeBrun reported. But if not, Kucherov could miss time.
With the season’s framework coming together over the past week, it wouldn’t be unusual for a player dealing with a nagging injury to receive additional treatment to get ready for the season. The regular season begins on Jan. 13.
If the injury is such that Kucherov could miss 10 games or 24 days, he would be a candidate to be placed on long term injury reserve (LTIR).
Kucherov is coming off a postseason in which he led all players with 34 points, helping the Lightning to a six-game win over the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup final.
He’s been extremely durable, missing just four games over the past three seasons, including just two games last season for a lower-body injury suffered in February.
If Kucherov is placed on LTIR, it would help the Lightning get below the $81.5 million flat salary cap. The team is already about $2 million over the cap, with restricted free-agent targets forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak still unsigned.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.
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