Few players have received as much attention this off-season as new Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt. The up-and-coming blue liner was selected by the NHL’s newest club in the Expansion Draft after a pair of strong seasons with the Washington Capitals. Then, before even playing a game with the Knights, the restricted free agent and his new team went to salary arbitration, where Schmidt was the only player this off-season to actually receive a reward from the arbitrator after a hearing. Vegas signed Schmidt to the two-year, $4.45MM deal that had been awarded and it appeared the two sides were all set for the 2017-18 season, with Schmidt prepared to play a major role on defense.
However, things have changed in an unexpected way. Back in mid-August, it was announced that Schmidt was unable to attend a fan event in Montana due to an injury. It was later revealed that Schmidt suffered an ankle injury while training, but no other details were offered. Weeks later, there has been no update on Schmidt’s condition with training camp just around the corner. Sin Bin inquired about the status of Schmidt’s injury today and, again, received no feedback. A team representative simply stated that “there is no update”.
At this point, some worry by fans has become warranted. Although the Knights still roster ten other NHL-caliber defenseman, Schmidt was slated to battle for a top pairing role and his absence would make the start of Vegas’ inaugural season much more difficult. While there’s just as little evidence to support any thought that he might miss time as there is about the injury itself, the lack of information coming from the team is cause for concern. Keep an eye out for updates on the Knights’ promising young rearguard as the season quickly approaches.