Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jan Rutta is considered day-to-day after sustaining a lower-body injury. Bolts head coach Jon Cooper confirmed Rutta’s status during the team’s media availability on Wednesday.
Jon Cooper said Cernak and Rutta have taken steps back, hoped they’d be further along. McDonagh close, could have good news tomorrow. Stephens really close
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) March 31, 2021
Tampa Bay Lightning Jan Rutta Injury Considered Day-to-Day
Rutta picked up the injury during the Lightning’s Tuesday night loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was not confirmed what caused the injury, although he was tripped by Vladislav Gavrikov at the start of the second period.
In his next shift after the resulting powerplay, Rutta seemed to be labouring and spent less than 30 seconds on the ice. He noticeably kept lifting his right foot and quickly departed for a premature change. The first-pair defenceman did not return to the game after exiting just five minutes into the second period.
— Alison (@AlisonL) March 31, 2021
Signed in the 2020 offseason to a two-year deal worth $2.6 million, (as per Cap Friendly) Rutta has eight points in 33 games this season. He also ranks fifth in blocked shots on the team (28) and fourth among defencemen in average ice time (16:02). Rutta usually partners Victor Hedman on the top pair.
What This Means Going Forward
Worryingly, Tampa Bay’s injury list is starting to pile up on the backend. Both Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak are also nursing lower-body injuries and have missed a combined total of six games over the last week. It is no coincidence that these setbacks have aligned with the Bolts’ current three-game losing streak.
However, it hasn’t all been bad news as far as injuries are concerned for the Lightning this month. General manager Julien Brisebois recently confirmed that right-winger Nikita Kucherov is on-pace to return for the postseason. He started skating earlier this month, which is a significant indicator of his rehab progress following his hip injury.
With regards to the Trade Deadline, Tampa Bay will likely stand pat. The Lightning recently shipped out Alexander Volkov to Anaheim due to their tight cap constraints. Therefore, unless there is a significant injury, Brisebois has no money to play with to become a buyer.