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Lightning prospect Koekkoek eager to rebound from shoulder injuries

Jul 5, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT

Slater Koekkoek AP

It’s been a trying time for Tampa Bay Lightning prospect defenseman Slater Koekkoek since being drafted in the first-round in 2012.

Each of the past three seasons for him have ended with shoulder injuries and while he had high hopes pinned on him when he was selected 10th overall, he just wants to be healthy as Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times shares.

“I’ve gotten the same questions for how long now? But maybe I got them fixed up now then I’ll be good for the next 20 years,” Koekkoek said. “It’s something I had to deal with, it’s not my fault or anything, just had a bad break. And I’m just going to move forward.”

Koekkoek, 20, saw his last season with the Windsor Spitfires come to an abrupt end after injuring his shoulder in a fight. Before that, he was having a monster season as he scored 15 goals with 53 points in 62 games. In his past three seasons he’s played a total of 130 games.

With the way the Lightning have built up their blue line this offseason adding Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison, it’s a bit of a crowded house in Tampa. For now, Koekkoek will look to get his game going in the American Hockey League with Syracuse.

  1. pfhockey - Jul 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    This guy is going to be a stud.

  2. lsxphotog - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    It is believed that with these latest two surgeries on his shoulders, he should be good to go. The continuous surgeries on his shoulders were something that have plagued his young career. However, I believe they found that his shoulders suffer from a birth defect, so while only one was actually injured, they went ahead and performed the surgery to both. Once he’s healed, doctors believe he will be healthy to play and should not impact his playing ability. Let’s hope they’re correct. He’s a powerhouse defensive prospect for Tampa.

    • lightning79 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      He’s had surgery the last 3 years, still performed great last season, should get a shot at #1 pairing in SYR this year.

      Surgery the first year right before the combine was a total fail, it had to be redone the year after that. This year his surgery came after a fights, where he stood up for one of his teammates, he got tangled up and his shoulder slipped out of the socket.

      You are right doctor believe this is something that was birth defect, and they truly think they have it figured out. If he stays healthy this year in SYR, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in TB by half year. His skating, and his defensive game are all pluses, Now if TB wants to develop him into a pt producing Dmen, they might be better off leaving him in the Minors all year.

      • lightning79 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        **3rd surgery was on other shoulder.

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