Kaplan reported on the injuries during Tuesday night’s ESPN+/Hulu broadcast of Vegas’ 3-2 overtime loss to New Jersey.
Stone has been out of the lineup since suffering an upper-body injury Jan. 12 against Florida. He is dealing with a back injury, but Kaplan said it is not the same as his previous injury. Stone missed two months of action last year and had lumbar discectomy surgery — a procedure that repairs a disc in the lower back — in the offseason.
Update:— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 19, 2022
Mark Stone underwent a successful lumbar discectomy with Dr. Robert Watkins, IV at Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. He is expected to be ready to play for the regular season. #VegasBorn
Kaplan said Stone would be “out at least through the All-Star break” and categorized his timeline as “murkier” than Theodore’s.
Theodore is with the team on its current four-game road trip and participated in Tuesday’s morning skate in a red no-contact sweater.
He has been out since sustaining a leg injury on Dec. 9 when he collided with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim in overtime.
Theodore has four goals and 22 points in 29 games this season and was tied for second on the team in scoring at the time of his injury. His five power-play points trailed only Jack Eichel (8), Jonathan Marchessault (8) and Alex Pietrangelo (7).
Needless to say, Vegas has missed both Theodore and Stone.
The Golden Knights haven’t been the same without the dynamic Theodore, whose game-changing ability could have done wonders for the Golden Knights during the team’s recent slump.
Plus, Vegas was fifth in the NHL in goals against (2.66) before Theodore was injured but has dropped to 21st with an average of 3.20 since (though Vegas also lost defenseman Zach Whitecloud two days after Theodore).
But Stone’s absence has been particularly glaring in recent games.
Despite missing six games this year, Stone is still second on the team in scoring with 38 points in 43 games, trailing only Chandler Stephenson (43 in 49). Stone is second on the team in goals (17) and fourth in assists (21) and second in plus-minus (plus-11) behind only Theodore (plus-14).
The power play has been out of sorts without the captain in the mix. In four January games with Stone in the lineup, the Golden Knights ranked fifth in the NHL with a power play operating at 33.33 percent. In the six games since Stone’s injury, Vegas has dropped to 29th, going 1-for-12 for an 8.3 percent conversion rate. Only three teams have fared worse: Washington (6.3 percent), Arizona (5.9 percent) and the Islanders (zero percent).
Vegas also greatly misses Stone’s elite two-way play at 5-on-5, where he leads the club with 2.32 points per 60 and 10.06 individual scoring chances per 60. He is second in individual expected goals per 60 (1.08) and individual high-danger shot attempts per 60 with 6.29, though he ranks first in these categories at all strengths.
Stone has a team-high 3.48 takeaways per 60 among players who have played at least 15 games; among players with at least 250 minutes of ice time, only three in the NHL have averaged more (Brandon Hagel, Warren Foegele, Derek Ryan) at 5-on-5.
The Golden Knights also are without William Carrier, Pavel Dorofeyev and Daniil Miromanov, who have missed five, 11 and 10 games, respectively. Paul Cotter returned to action Jan. 5 after missing eight games, and Brett Howden was back in the lineup on Tuesday after missing 27.
Only five Golden Knights skaters have played in every game this season, including forwards Stephenson, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Phil Kessel. Brayden McNabb is the lone Vegas defenseman who has not missed a game in 2022-23, though Nicolas Hague has played in 48 of 49.
Additional Golden Knights players who have missed time due to injury are Jack Eichel, Nicolas Roy, Jonathan Marchessault and Alec Martinez; Robin Lehner, Nolan Patrick and Shea Weber have spent the season on long-term injured reserve and will not play in 2022-23.