The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extended period while the netminder recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot.
The team announced on Friday morning that Vasilevskiy “underwent successful surgery on Thursday to remove a blood clot from near his left collarbone and to treat a type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome,” a malady that can block the circulation to the hand, leaving it numb and in danger of being lost if circulation isn’t addressed promptly.
Vasilevskiy is expected to fully recover. He’ll be sidelined for two to three months.
The 21-year-old Russian played 16 regular season games for the Lightning in 2014-15, compiling a record of 7-5-1 with a .918 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average with one shutout. Vasilevskiy also appeared in four playoff games to help the Bolts reach the Stanley Cup Final for just the second time in franchise history.
Vasilevskiy is the latest in a frightening line of NHLers to suffer from blood clot issues. Tomas Vokoun’s career came to an end after his second bout with clots in 2014. Kimmo Timonen, Pascal Dupuis, Tomas Fleischmann and Jed Ortmeyer all missed significant playing time while in recovery.
If untreated, blood clots can lead to strokes and, in some cases, death.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times that he was taking a "wait and see" approach before deciding if he would add another goaltender to his roster, adding that he'll give youngsters Kristers Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox a chance to prove themselves in training camp.