Matt Carle to Miss at Least Six Weeks


Dec 2, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman

Matt Carle

(25) takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Sabers defeat the Lightning 2 to 1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s blue line has taken another hit as veteran defenceman Matt Carle is expected to miss at least the next six weeks with a torn abductor.

Carle suffered the injury during Thursday’s win against the Edmonton Oilers. Surgery is set for Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Carle is the latest Bolt defender to be sidelined with injury. The team is already without Radko Gudas for the remainder of the season and has also dealt with injuries to Victor Hedman. The team also traded Erik Brewer to Anaheim earlier in the season.

In 46 games, Carle is averaging 20:34 minutes of ice time and has recorded 14 points (four goals) and 24 penalty minutes.

With Carle now out of the lineup, Mark Barberio, who has been playing more regularly since Gudas’ injury, figures to get more minutes, as does Andrej Sustr.

Nikita Nesterov also figures to see extended time as does the recently recalled Luke Witowski, who has yet to make his NHL debut.

Of course, the Lightning still has Hedman, Jason Garrison and Anton Stralman on the back end.

Despite the injuries, Lightning general manager told Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune that he will continue to give Nesterov and Barberio ample playing time but has been on the look out for a defenceman since November.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! suggests that the Lightning could have interest in Zbynek Michalek (Arizona), Bryce Salvador (New Jersey), Marc Methot (Ottawa), Andrej Sekera (Carolina) and Jeff Petry (Edmonton) as they are potential unrestricted free agents on teams that don’t appear playoff bound this season.