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Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Slater Koekkoek shut down, after only 2 games with Windsor Spitfires

Koekkoek has been limited to 68 games in the past 2 seasons (Getty Images)

Going through surgery and the subsequent recovery is does not always harm a player's draft status, but the news about Slater Koekkoek makes it two first-round picks this month who have been reinjured.

Koekkoek played only 26 games last season for the Peterborough Petes due to surgery to repair a torn labrum on his left shoulder, but the Tampa Bay Lightning went ahead and invested their No. 10 overall pick in the strong-skating defenceman. By no means should anyone suggest that meant the Windsor Spitfires took on too much risk when they traded for Koekkoek at the OHL trade deadline; GM Warren Rychel had a chance to get a talented player who could be a focal point of his 2013-14 squad and Koekkoek had held up through 40 games of playing major minutes for Peterborough. However, Koekkoek, barely removed from a rough situation in Peterborough, is out for the season.

From the Windsor Star's Jim Parker (@winstarparker):

Koekkoek, 18, joins Phoenix Coyotes 2011 first-rounder Connor Murphy as high picks who had significant injuries prior to being drafted and have been seriously hurt again. Obviously., those are just two random examples. The NHL scouting reporters perform due diligence to make sure a player has recovered, but there might be another level of study (it's probably been done already) to see if there's a greater risk of another major injury. At the same time, what this could only end up costing Koekkoek is development time, delaying his readiness to be a NHLer. There are a bajillion other factors which go into that too, beyond his health.

Different Windsor team

The Spitfires (18-19-1-6, .489 point pct.) are four points adrift of the Saginaw Spirit for the final the OHL Western Conference berth. They are 4-0-0-1 since the trade deadline, including a win over league-leading London last Friday without benefit of Koekkoek. That's a small sample size, true, but they appear to be a different team since Rychel airlifted in centre Alex Khokhlachev, overage Alex Aleardi and winger Remy Giftopoulos. The Spitfires just won't have such a different look defensively with Koekkoek shut down.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

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