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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Erik Cernak is day to day with a lower body injury

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that defenseman Erik Cernak is day to day with a lower body injury and will not play today against the Buffalo Sabers.

Cernak left Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period and ultimately did not return. He took warm-ups before this morning’s game against the Sabers but was eventually ruled out.

The 25-year-old has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists), 166 hits and 81 blocked shots in 53 games this season. He’s missed time this season due to lower and upper body injuries as well as a two-game suspension for elbowing Sabres’ Kyle Okposo.

Defensive defenseman, Cernak played a pivotal role in helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021. The Kosice, Slovakia product is in the final year of a three-year, 8-year contract. $.85 million. Starting next season, Cernak will sign his new contract, eight years $41.6 million, the contract has a cap of $5.2 million and runs until 2030-31. He has a no-trade clause from 2024-25 to 2026-27, then a modified no-trade clause for the rest of the contract.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion and 2021 Slovakian Player of the Year played 279 games for the Bolts, recording 17 goals and 53 assists for 70 points. He has also racked up 799 hits and 376 blocked shots throughout his career so far.

Defenseman Darren Raddysh replaced Cernak on the blue line. The 26-year-old has played just five NHL games over the past two seasons. This season, while playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, he had 50 points (13 goals, 37 assists) in 50 games. Raddysh has a cap of $762,500.

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