Lightning forward Ryan Callahan on long-term injury reserve

Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on during a game against the Detroit Red Wings at Amalie Arena on October 18, 2018. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan is on long-term injury reserve after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease in his back, the team said Thursday. 

The Lightning said Callahan, who recorded 17 points in 52 games in the 2018-2019 season, has a degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.

According to, Callahan said he's been dealing with some back issues for a few years and that this year it's been the worst it's ever been. "From what the doctors have said and the way I feel, it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to come back," he said in the exclusive interview. "The biggest thing is I want to win a championship. I think that's the hardest thing now is realizing that dream or that chance is probably gone," he said. 

Callahan said he's taking time to process it all and enjoy his family and the time off before trying to figure out his next step.

Callahan, 34, joined the Lightning in 2014 and has appeared in 757 career games with the Lightning and the New York Rangers. 

The New York native has scored 186 goals and recorded 386 points.