The Lightning have been hit with their first major injury of the regular season. Defenseman Zach Bogosian is expected to miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury, they announced Thursday.
Defenseman Andrej Sustr was recalled from AHL Syracuse.
Bogosian played 14:14 and showed no signs of injury in the Lightning’s 6-2 season-opening loss to the Penguins on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. He didn’t practice Wednesday — rookie forward Boris Katchouk served as a fill-in defenseman — before the Lightning flew to Detroit for Thursday night’s game against the Red Wings, and the team gave no update on his status.
“It’s tough for us because (Bogosian) was going to be a mainstay in our D-corps,” coach Jon Cooper said Thursday. “So depth is tested early in the season for us. Fortunately, we have somebody that’s played with us before, so hopefully he can just step right in.”
Sustr, 30, spent his first six NHL seasons with the Lightning, then left in free agency. He returned in the offseason on a two-way deal after playing a year in Anaheim and two seasons overseas.
The Lightning already were without defenseman Cal Foote, who is recovering from offseason hand surgery. General manager Julien BriseBois expected Foote to miss the first two to four weeks of the season. This week he returned to practice but isn’t fully cleared because he is wearing a red no-contact jersey.
The Lightning opened the season carrying just six defensemen, sending Sustr and Fredrik Claesson to Syracuse.
Bogosian won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2019-20, then left in free agency for the Maple Leafs. He returned to Tampa Bay in the offseason this year on a three-year deal. Bogosian has been paired with Mikhail Sergachev as the third defense pair.
Sustr came back a better player in the preseason. Cooper lauded how improved Sustr’s skating and speed were during training camp.
“He’s got, like, a better control of his body,” Cooper said of the 6-foot-7 defenseman. “When he was younger, he’s tall and probably wasn’t as strong, especially in his lower body, and so he’s under control more, and that’s tough for those guys.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieintheYard.
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