If the season ended today (it doesn’t), the Vegas Golden Knights would miss the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Luckily for the Knights, they could be getting one of their top players back as early as Tuesday night in their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks.
Mark Stone, who has not played a game since February 8 due to a back injury, is traveling with the team on their road trip through Western Canada. Monday, Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer called the team captain a game-time decision against Vancouver.
Needless to say, Stone’s return would give the Knights a massive boost as they enter the regular season’s homestretch. The soon-to-be 30-year-old has only appeared in 28 games this season, but he averages a point per game and is most certainly one of the top two-way players in hockey.
There’s only one problem — for Stone to return to the lineup, the Knights will need to pull off some cap gymnastics. Stone has a cap hit of $9.5 million, but according to CapFriendly, the Knights only have $5,005,000 of available cap space. They’ll need to create more cap space by placing a certain combination of players on long-term injured reserve or sending them to the minors.
The Knights are obviously a much better team with Stone in the lineup, but there are still a few hoops to jump through to get him eligible to suit up — whether that’s against the Canucks or not.