After over two months of waiting Jack Eichel has officially joined the Vegas Golden Knights on the ice. The superstar forward was traded to the Golden Knights in early November in a blockbuster deal that involved Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs.
Eichel skated in a red no-contact jersey in the Golden Knight’s optional morning skate on Tuesday. This marks the first time Eichel has participated with his new team in the Golden Knights in any shape or form.
“It felt amazing. It has been a bit of an emotional moment for me. It is another step in the process but this is like a kid on Christmas waking up this morning and getting the opportunity to get on the ice with the guys,” said Eichel
Eichel was on the ice with Reilly Smith, Michael Amadio, Keegan Kolesar, Brett Howden, Brayden McNabb, Ben Hutton, Logan Thompson, and Dylan Coghlan.
Jonas Røndbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Daniil Miromanov also rejoined the Golden Knights, possibly meaning the return of the team’s Taxi Squad.
THERE HE IS 🔥 pic.twitter.com/EvInlcLfpu
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 11, 2022
Eichel underwent artificial disk replacement surgery on November 12th and is the first player in NHL history to have the surgery. At the time of the surgery, Eichel was expected to remain out for the next three-to-five months. It has now been two months since the initial surgery.
“The recovery to be completely honest was pretty smooth. I was very fortunate to be in the hands of Dr. Mark Lindsay and I kind of just let him do what he does best and we had a good plan all along and knock on wood there weren’t any setbacks,” said Eichel.
There is still a lot of ground to be covered with Eichel’s return and Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer says to remain patient.
“It’s nice to have him back, nice to have him in the room, and nice to see him. But at the same time, you want to temper your enthusiasm because this is just the first step in a long return to play road,” said DeBoer.
The Golden Knights, when fully healthy are expected to be above the NHL’s salary cap with Eichel in the mix. They are currently cap-compliant with Eichel and Alec Martinez on long-term injured reserve. But there is a good chance they will have to dip into the NHL trade market to shed some assets.
Eichel has 355 points in 375 career NHL games played and will be a massive addition to the Golden Knights lineup. But a little bit more patience will be needed before the Golden Knights can add the superstar to their lineup.
“I didn’t skate today but it’s Jack Eichel. So I am sure he looked fantastic out there,” said Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud.