1. Lightning

Tyler Johnson hopes to be ready for camp

Published Aug. 12, 2015

Lightning center Tyler Johnson interrupted his shortened offseason in Spokane, Wash to make a quick trip to Tampa Wednesday.

But it was for good reason, as Johnson, 25, had a check-up with doctors over his broken right wrist, getting to finally remove his brace.

"It's recovering on the timeline," Johnson said.

Johnson got hurt in Game 1 of June's Stanley Cup final when he awkwardly landed on the ice after a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. The injury significantly hampered the All-Star in the heartbreaking, 4-2 series loss to Chicago.

Johnson, limited to cardio, core and light upper-body workouts since the season ended, hopes to be full participation when training camp opens Sept. 17 at Amalie Arena, but isn't sure.

"I'm going to do everything I possibly can to be ready," he said. "There's still a lot of time."

Johnson admits it's "upsetting" to think what could have happened had he not got hurt. He still led the NHL with 13 goals and 23 points in the postseason, but was held to two points in six games against the Blackhawks, and stopped taking faceoffs.

Johnson has enjoyed his offseason, including raising $53,000 for local youth hockey in his annual "HockeyFest" exhibition game; he served as coach, with Wayne Gretzky among the players. But Johnson said the bittersweet Lightning season has motivated the entire team.

"It was a remarkable season, something I'm always going to remember," Johnson said. "It's kind of a weird feeling. You're proud of what you had done, but at the same time, you're still (ticked) off that you made it this far but two wins from the Cup. All the work and everything, and all of a sudden, you're not the one that's hoisting the Cup, not the one having your day with it. In a way, it fuels us, we think about it everyday. There's no doubt about it."