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

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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:

Superstreak Bonus!
  • 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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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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colorado_gary

Money quote re: Vegas and Eichel: “I call it: cheating.” Amen Dater, and thanks for the interesting insights and tidbits!

Jason Bentley

It’s now cheating if you don’t break the rules.

jimstrohmeier

The teams are restricted by the salary cap and one cannot blame management and owners for using the rules or loopholes to their advantage. I personally think the 50/50 spilt is unfair to these players and should be more like 60/40 or 65/35 even. Baseball players make over $20M

Karl Keen

I think a lot of people have been sleeping on Vegas. They have had a lot of key injuries, but still are winning a lot of games and recently their younger players have been stepping up and providing depth scoring. They will again, be a very tough out in the playoffs.

Yan Girard

The weakness of Vegas is their goalie. We have to take advantage of it. Despite the goalie is our weakness too.

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A.
Jason Bentley

Actually the goal tending ranks 5th in the league. The problem has been the lack of defense due to at times missing 4 players from our top 6 and 2 to 3 of our top 4 defense. Just to put it out there but when your playing games with half your roster on LTIR like we were earlier in the season the goalies were why the Knights are even in a playoff spot.

Yan Girard

I am not sure to understand your point. For the save%, Kuemper is 12th in the NHL and plays for a very good team. All the teams have injuries. It’s a part of the game. Irrespective the statistics and the other factors, I analyze the job of Kuemper. I am able to evaluate well if the goalie should stop the puck or not according the situation and the quality of shot. Lehner weighs 250 pounds. It’s easy to know that the lateral movements it’s not his strength. He is more a positioning goalie. He plays deeply in the net and… Read more »

Karl Keen

That’s assuming we are not stuck in our own zone letting Vegas repeatedly cycle. That was some rough hockey we played allowing Vegas forecheck the heck out of us for three straight games. I do think them losing Tuch hurt in terms of speed and forecheck capabilities. If they had to lose Reilly in a trade and not play the LTIR game as they probably will, that will hurt them as well as his speed gives us problems.

Yan Girard

Did you see our goalies make a lot thefts since the start of season? In parallel, did you see our goalies give a lot gifts since the start of season? To ask the question is to answer it. It’s normal that a goalie makes mistakes. An excellent goalie will be able to limit the mistakes and save the day sometimes. That’s not what we saw since the start of season. For the most of the games since the start of season, the Avs had the best scoring chances. It’s normal that the opponent gets the good scoring chances in the… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A.
Aaron Rud

Yan, I haven’t seen you comment lately.

jimstrohmeier

Yeah, our netminders are not proven, but our blue line more than makes up for that. Cale Makar, another game when he demonstrates that his pricey contract is a great deal for the owner

hockeyhead

I guess TB 2nd cup has an asterisk by it. The league does need to fix the cap loop hole and keep the cap throughout the playoffs so teams can’t just elevate into super star studded teams with all kinds of expensive dudes.

Yan Girard

The NHL must frame more this situation. However, we must not forget that many teams greatly exceeded the salary cap in playoffs. It’s the case every year. In that sense, no asterisk.

Jason Bentley

The NHL didn’t decide that rule, the players did in the CBA. I suppose you should be mad at them. Or maybe mad that your teams GM doesn’t have the vision of the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks, the 2021 Tampa Bay Lightning, or the soon to be 2022 Vegas Golden Knights.

jimstrohmeier

agree, except for the Vegas part — and I live in Vegas!

Go Avs! Fastest team in franchise history to 70 points

Yan Girard

The boys, we prepare the playoffs and we hit very hard Eichel to verify the quality of his surgery. I care of his health and I want only his well-being!

Last edited 9 months ago by Alexander A.
Karl Keen

If Bo’s salary was higher we would arguably be playing the same game and place him on LTIR and make trades now, but his salary is less than a million I think

Aaron Rud

That’s a great point.

jimstrohmeier

I was at that Hambuglar game and I kept a Micky D’s burger in a sandwich bag, safely in my pocket til the buzzer and my son tossed it for me! That was a great game! More than a few burgers were tossed there

dp10

This is somewhat unrelated, but what if the Avs trade for Giroux and the Flyers decide to retain a sizable portion of his salary? Wouldn’t that be another way of sidestepping the salary cap?

dk

I see we have a VGK-stan in the comments here…

Welcome, Mr. Bentley.

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