On Friday, Jack Eichel was finally able to get the neck surgery he needed after an injury sustained last April during the 2021-22 season. This was something that the 25-year-old was wanting to have done for some time, but was unable to until he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights last week, as the Buffalo Sabres were not comfortable allowing him to have his preferred disc replacement procedure.
There were some risks involved here, as the operation Eichel underwent on Friday morning had never been done on an NHL player before. According to early reports however, the surgery, which was performed by Dr. Chad Prusmack, went very well. He is expected to remain in Denver, where the surgery took place, for the next three weeks as he begins his recovery process.
After his three weeks in Denver are complete, Eichel will head to Las Vegas and continue what he hopes to be a three month recovery. It is possible given the question marks surrounding this that it takes longer, but the star forward has been confident for some time now that he would be good to go three months after the surgery took place.
Eichel has also been extremely confident in his abilities post-surgery, recently telling reporters that he expects to not only get back to the player he was before, but be even better. That may seem like a bold statement for a player who was already regarded as a top-10 talent in the league prior to his injury, but it is worth noting that he has never been on a roster anywhere near this talented.
Once healthy, many expect the Golden Knights to put him on a line with two other currently injured forwards in Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. If that is what ends up happening, and Eichel is able to get back to the level he was before, that line will be as good, if not better, than any in the league.
The question will be how the remainder of the roster looks, as general manager Kelly McCrimmon may very well be forced to trade a roster player or two in order to fit in Eichel’s salary once he comes off the long-term injured reserve. That may cause some headaches in the future, but for now all that matters is that this team was able to pick up a true superstar forward, one who has the potential to lead this team to their first ever Stanley Cup.
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