Injuries Strike in Tampa Bay: Lightning's Future Odds Affected?

David Lawrence

Thursday, January 22, 2015 5:37 PM GMT

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning found out they’ll be without one of their most important players. It was announced that defenseman Matt Carle will be out for two months as his torn abductor muscle will require surger. How will the Lightning’s NHL betting odds be affected? Let’s have a look:

What He Brings To The Team
Carle is a do-it-all defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning, that will surely be missed. He gives the team 20:34 of ice time per game, which ranks third on the team. He plays the power play, he kills penalty and he’s excellent with the puck. Tampa Bay is one of the better teams in terms of puck possession with a 55.2 percent Corsi when playing at even strength and Carle definitely helps that number.

Carle is clearly one of the key cogs on a blue line that is much improved. The good news is he should be back in time for the playoffs and if he regains his conditioning by then, the Lightning might not feel so much pain from this injury.

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Do They Have The Depth To Survive The Injury?
The good news for Tampa Bay is that they have far more depth at this position than in previous seasons. While Carle is definitely a solid blue liner, he’s still third on the team in ice time among defensemen behind Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman. That duo is the Lightning’s top pairing, so the good news is they remain intact.

General Manager Steve Yzerman has been on the hunt for a defenseman since December, so now this might press him even more  to make a move. Some of the names rumored like Zbynek Michalek and maybe someone like Marc Methot. Although those guys are downgrades, they should be able to fill in for a temporary period of time.

The Lightning have already survived injuries to Hedman and Radko Gudas this season, although Gudas is out again, so expect them to do just fine without Carle. Carle is as steady as it gets: you know exactly what you’ll get from him each time he’s on the ice. About 20 minutes of solid defensive play with very minimal mistakes. He’ll be missed but the Lightning will survive.

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How To Bet The News
?Don’t sweat it too much. In the meantime, focus more on over in terms of totals NHL betting because the Lightning will likely play more higher-scoring affairs as a result. With goaltender Ben Bishop being a tad shaky this season – especially on the road where he has 2.90 GAA and .890 save percentage – you may want to look at overs while this team is away from home.

Beyond that, though, it’s hard to see this affecting the Lightning’s Stanley Cup NHL odds unless Carle is not healthy for playoff time. Expect the Lightning to bolster their blue line before the trade deadline and the team to be the same caliber of a Cup contender when he’s back. This team’s success still hinges on goaltender Ben Bishop more so than anything else, although Carle is definitely a key piece.