Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel is getting closer and closer to making his season debut, as the 25-year-old is expected to be cleared for contact in the coming days.
Eichel, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Buffalo Sabres in November, has been unable to play in 2021-22 due to a neck procedure he had done shortly after joining the Golden Knights. Head coach Pete DeBoer spoke about how one of his newest weapons is doing in terms of his recovery while at the All-Star festivities.
“There’s been a couple (practices) in the last week where he’s mainly the best player on the ice, so I would say he’s progressing pretty well. We haven’t started contact yet. I think that’s the next step,” DeBoer said during his NHL All-Star game media availability. “That’s a big step, obviously, because everything changes when we get into full contact. But from a sheer practice and skill point of view, he’s elite-elite and every day we are out with him the group gets more excited.”
While Jack Eichel is excited to be a Golden Knight and vice versa, he will have plenty of pressure on himself when he’s cleared for contact and returns to the ice. Not only was the team forced to part with two good players in return for him in Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs, but they will likely have to move out another valuable member of their roster to fit in his $10 million salary, which is currently being stored on long-term injured reserve.
Prior to his injury, most viewed Eichel as a top-10, if not top-five, centermen in the entire NHL. Shortly after being traded, he said he believed he was just scratching the surface of his potential and still has another level to get to. If he is indeed able to elevate his play to an even higher level than before, the Golden Knights may be the league’s number one Stanley Cup contender heading into the postseason.
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