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Sunday Notes: Jack Eichel could return against Avs, Vegas cap shenanigans on tap?



Jack Eichel Vegas

Good Super Bowl Sunday to all. A nice mild day predicted. I’ll take the Bengals plus the points today, by the way. Let’s do some NHL notes, starting with a possible Jack Eichel return this week against the Avs:

  • Eichel, who has played only 21 games in the last 23 months, has been practicing with the Vegas Golden Knights, with contact, and the rumor is he might return Wednesday night against the Avs on national TV (TNT).
  • To activate Eichel and still remain “cap compliant”, the Golden Knights will need to unload about $4.3 million in cap space, which most people think will mean a trade will need to be made.
  • But not if Vegas pulls a “Kucherov” and puts someone on LTIR for the rest of the season. Oh, and looky here: it just so happens that Mark Stone’s bad back is acting up on him again. Never mind that he just played in the All-Star Game, just as a decision on Jack Eichel is nearing, Vegas has a guy who, if he went on LTIR, who suddenly has the bad back again (he’s missed games with this already this season, and as someone with a horrible back, I know how it can come and go). But the fact is, this is setting up to be another skirt around the cap rules by a team entering the playoff stretch.
  • Vegas could suddenly declare Stone out for the rest of the season, fit Eichel in with no problem because Stone’s cap hit ($9.5 million) would come off the books per LTIR regulations and still get BOTH players for the playoffs. Why? Because there’s no cap in the playoffs. Just like the Lightning did with Kucherov last season, the Golden Knights can essentially skirt the rules by declaring Stone unfit to play for the rest of the regular season, then activate him for the playoffs, when the cap goes away. The Lightning had a playoff roster last spring of about $99 million – while other teams had $81.5 million payrolls.
  • It’s a loophole to the cap that the NHL should have seen coming, and one they need to close during the next CBA. Now, Stone could get a two-month vacation, get all the treatment he needs and come back fresh for the playoffs, alongside Eichel. It’s not against the rules, per se, but it goes against the spirit of the rules. I call it: cheating.
  • Owen Krepps lays out all the possibilities for Vegas here (Vegas Hockey Now)
  • There were no Philadelphia Flyers scouts at last night’s Eagles game in Loveland, like there were the night before. The Eagles got a hat trick from Kiefer Sherwood in an 8-1 win (Colorado Eagles)
  • Interesting story here on the Caps’ Daniel Sprong and the wild journey he’s had to the NHL (Washington Hockey Now)
  • Larry Brooks has some questions about Montreal’s new coaching/front office setup and rips Brad Marchand a new one (NY Post)
  • Alex Newhook goes back to third-line center for today’s matinee with the Dallas Stars. That’s where he should stay, I think. He’s been good in that role.
  • Don’t look now, but the Red Wings still have a shot at a playoff spot (Detroit Hockey Now)
  • NY Islanders: Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov was pulled from Saturday’s start against Calgary following the warmups after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • A former Av is now a goalie with the Canadiens (Montreal Hockey Now)
  • I’ll still never forget that night the Hamburglar made 45 saves to beat the Predators in Game 5 of a playoff series in 2018 – after barely playing for a solid year previously.
  • The Minnesota Wild almost never lose at home (Star Tribune)

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