An already banged up Vegas Golden Knights team appears to have suffered yet another significant injury, as Jack Eichel was forced to leave Thursday night's game versus the Florida Panthers after blocking a shot in the second period.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer said that Eichel's injury is a "huge concern" though the team is still waiting to hear more conclusive test results.
No results yet on the evaluation of Jack Eichel, per Pete DeBoer. Calls him doubtful for tomorrow and that it’s a “huge concern.”#VegasBorn
— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) March 18, 2022
Losing Eichel for any significant period of time would be a massive blow to the Golden Knights, as they are already without several forwards in Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Reilly Smith. To this point, nothing has been said about how long the 25-year-old may be out of the lineup, but he is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Kings, a Pacific Division rival.
This has to be extremely frustrating for Eichel, as he was forced to miss nearly a year of action after suffering a herniated disc in his neck while playing for the Buffalo Sabres in 2020-21. He was just recently able to make both his Golden Knights and season debut, and appeared to be catching stride as of late with five goals and 10 points through 15 games.
Heading into the 2021-22 season, most expected the Golden Knights to run away with the Pacific Division. Those expectations grew even higher after they acquired Eichel from the Sabres back in early November. However, with just 19 games remaining in their season, they sit fourth in the Pacific, and are just barely clinging on to the final wild card position in the Western Conference.
Until a timeline is announced, the main focus on this team right now will be the severity of Eichel’s injury. The hope is that it is a day-to-day thing, but given DeBoer’s comments there is reason to believe that isn’t the case. Losing the star forward for any sort of significant time would be a serious blow to the Golden Knights playoff hopes.
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