Jack Eichel has taken another step forward in his recovery from artificial disk replacement surgery to join the Vegas Golden Knights. Today Eichel stepped onto the ice for practice wearing a red no-contact jersey.
Eichel underwent a successful neck surgery in November, and today’s participation in practice represents another milestone on his road to recovery. The Golden Knights acquired Eichel and a 2023 third-round pick on November 4th in a deal that sent Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a top-10 protected first-round pick in 2022, and a second round pick in 2023 to the Buffalo Sabres.
In 375 games, Eichel has a line of 139-216-355 which equates to a points per game average of 0.95. In 2019-20 he tallied 36 goals, 42 assists, and 78 points in 68 games, and last season’s injury saw him post a line of 2-16-18 in 21 games played.
DeBoer on Eichel: "No contact. That's the only parameters that have been put on him as far as I know."— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) January 11, 2022
Following practice, Eichel met with the media.
Jack Eichel on getting back on the ice: "It felt like I was a kid at Christmas."— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) January 11, 2022
Eichel: "It feels like things are getting back to normal for me."— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) January 11, 2022
Eichel: "I was actually thinking about suiting up tonight, but they wouldn't let me go," he says with a laugh.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) January 11, 2022
Says he doesn't have a set target date, but has full support from the organization."
"I'm not saying I would have been back and healthy" for the Olympics, Eichel says, "but I'm not saying I wouldn't have."— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) January 11, 2022
Adds he's frustrated, like much of other players, at the decision.
Eichel’s ETA to return remains unknown, but before he suits up for a game, the Golden Knights will need to clear cap space. Max Pacioretty ($7 million) is currently on injured reserve, Eichel ($10 million), Alec Martinez ($5.25 million) and Jake Bischoff ($716,667) are on long term injured reserve.
It will be interesting to see how Kelly McCrimmon navigates this, because at some point in the near future both Eichel and Pacioretty will presumably play regular season games for the Golden Knights, so that means some big money will need to be moved out.