Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will have surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured finger on his right hand and will miss 4-6 weeks, the team announced Monday.
Hedman left Tampa Bay's game Saturday after blocking a shot. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the game that Hedman was returning to Florida and is likely to miss the final four games of the current road trip, which continues Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
"You just feel for [Hedman]," Cooper said after the game Saturday in Vancouver. "He's come out of the gate so strong, he's poised just to build on the year he had last year and now he might be sidelined here for a little bit. I really feel for him."
Defense - TBL
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 11 | +/-: 2
Hedman had a career-high 55 points (13 goals, 42 assists) in 75 games last season, which placed him fourth in the League in scoring among defensemen. He has three goals and seven points in five games this season, which ties him for the NHL lead in both goals and points at his position.
Another defenseman, Radko Gudas, has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, but is expected to return to the lineup soon. If Gudas can't play Monday against the Oilers, Mark Barberio is likely to earn a place in the lineup for the first time this season.
"We're going to test our depth," Cooper said. "It just puts a little more pressure on the 'D' core as a whole, but we played two-thirds of the game without [Hedman on Saturday] and I thought our guys stood pretty strong."