When the Vegas Golden Knights ended up missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, many seemed to quickly point to Jack Eichel’s somewhat lackluster 25 points in 34 games this season as part of the problem. Now, as in keeping with the story behind Vegas’ season, team president George McPhee revealed Eichel played the final six weeks of the regular season with a broken thumb after suffering the injury on March 17.
With sniper Max Pacioretty limited to 39 games and captain Mark Stone limited to 37, the Golden Knights were ravaged by injuries on an unprecedented level this season (although this year’s Canadiens also belong in that conversation). The team had just seven skaters hit the 70-game mark, and, to make matters worse, starter Robin Lehner was also limited to just 44 starts as he battled through injury this season as well. If a fully healthy Eichel (after a healthy offseason as well) returns to the Vegas lineup come October, there’s a strong chance the team will pick up where they left off at the end of 2020-21.
- Pending unrestricted free agent Filip Forsberg, just a day after getting swept out of the playoffs, says “the goal is to come back” to the Predators this offseason. Forsberg, 27, is eligible for the open market for the first time this offseason. Coming off a career year in goals (42), assists (42), and points (84), he could easily command something in the $9MM per year range this summer. Nashville doesn’t have any other big free agents to spend on this offseason, and with over $24MM in projected cap space per CapFriendly, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a deal done if he does opt to stay.
- After retaining the first overall pick in tonight’s draft lottery, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes says the team doesn’t plan on trading the pick, although he’ll listen if he receives calls. While it’s likely just a standard answer to a standard question, it’s somewhat interesting that he didn’t close off the option entirely. It would likely take an astronomical package to pry the pick and, presumptively, Shane Wright, away from Montreal, who will host the draft.