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Jack Eichel takes next big step in comeback

The Golden Knights’ superstar forward is finally out of non-contact jersey

New Vegas Golden Knights Player Jack Eichel Visits Youth At Ball Hockey Rink In North Las Vegas Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jack Eichel is inching closer and closer to getting his new chapter with the Vegas Golden Knights underway. With some of the National Hockey League officially back to work in the wake of the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, the Golden Knights were treated to a bonus gift on the ice at practice earlier today; Jack Eichel in a green jersey. But what does a green jersey mean?

Well, technically it is for the “fifth line” when the Golden Knights have more than 12 forwards at practice but, more importantly in this case, it means that Eichel is officially out of a non-contact jersey. And, while the kid gloves may not yet be off in terms of not rushing Eichel back, it does mark a significant milestone in the franchise pivot’s road to recovery.

He impressed too, getting some time working with the top power play unit and leading to defenseman Ben Hutton saying “haha, he’s pretty damn good,” per The Athletic’s Jesse Granger.

It means that Eichel is another step closer in making a return to the ice and making his long-awaited debut for the Golden Knights, three months after undergoing successful artificial disk replacement surgery.

Eichel has been practicing since Jan. 11, but in a non-contact jersey, with Vegas Head Coach Pete DeBoer saying before the All-Star Break that the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft was on the cusp of being cleared for contact. Today the Golden Knights’ bench boss had more to say with Eichel being a full participant in practice.

Now that day has arrived and coupled with the fact that he looked sharp at today’s practice, Vegas fans can start to get excited about the prospect of seeing Eichel in a Golden Knights jersey sooner rather than later.

With 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 career NHL games, Eichel could be the missing piece for the 27-16-3 Vegas Golden Knights, who are chasing their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

And they are now another day closer to getting one of the most potent weapons in the NHL back healthy and ready to go.

That isn’t a bad way to start the second-half of the season.