Originally posted on Pro Hockey Rumors By Holger Stolzenberg | Last updated 9/6/20
There seems to be plenty of questions surrounding Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who has yet to make his playoff debut after undergoing core muscle surgery in early March and now has been listed as “unfit to play” with a lower-body injury. Now it looks like that if he will play in the playoffs it will have to be in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Lightning and head coach Jon Cooper announced that Stamkos will miss the entire Eastern Conference Final due to his undisclosed injuries, adding that he will update that status if anything changes. There was plenty of hope that Stamkos might be ready to return to the team and supplement the offensive powerhouse Lightning against the stingy defense of the Islanders. However, that won’t happen here, and the Bolts will have to win the series without him if they have any hopes of him returning for the playoffs.
If or when he returns, however, The Athletic’s Joe Smith believes that Stamkos will likely begin on the Lightning’s second line with Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli as they likely won’t want to break up the impressive play of the first-round combo of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov.
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