TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning General manager Steve Yzerman set out to build depth in the organization, and his results are getting an early test. Forward Ryan Malone will be lost to the team for 3-4 weeks due to a lower-body injury aggravated during a pregame soccer ball kick-around.
The injury occurred Sunday prior to the Lightning's game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and marks the third consecutive season Malone has lost game time due to injuries.
"I'd love to be able to figure it out," coach Guy Boucher said of the recurring injuries. "Then we could plan things. It's a short season and to be out for one month, that's a lot."
To fill the roster spot, the Lightning have brought up Richard Panik from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. A second-round draft pick in 2010, Panik, 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, had 21 goals and 14 assists while appearing in 43 games for Syracuse.
"Panik is a big guy with tremendous speed," Boucher said. "He's a solid hockey player. He's got unbelievable hands and skills, and sometimes has shown flashes of brilliance."
Panik is expected to make his NHL debut for Tampa Bay on Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.