Lightning’s Cal Foote to miss beginning of season with hand injury

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TAMPA — The start of Lightning defenseman Cal Foote’s second NHL season will be delayed potentially as long as a month by a hand injury.

Tampa Bay general manager Julien BriseBois announced during Wednesday’s media day that Foote recently had surgery to repair a tendon in his pinkie finger and will miss all of the preseason and likely the first two to four weeks of the regular season.

Foote, the Lightning’s first-round pick in 2017, made the opening-night roster and played in 35 games last season as a rookie, averaging 12:53 of ice time. But he played just one game after April 10, and was assigned to the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse on April 30 in favor of veteran Luke Schenn. Foote finished with one goal and two assists during his time with Lightning.

The Lightning lost Schenn and trade-deadline acquisition David Savard through free agency but brought back veteran Zach Bogosian, who should be in line for a spot in the lineup with Foote sidelined.

BriseBois said Wednesday that Foote took “huge strides” last season despite diminished playing time,

“What we want to see from him is continued growth, keep pushing the pace and being assertive out there,” BriseBois said. “We sent Cal down to Syracuse to get some games and get some mileage, but he had a really good year last year. He showed progression throughout the year and he has shown progression over the last few seasons. With continued growth, I would expect him to be a regular at some point.”

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