The Vegas Golden Knights are set to get their captain back, as Mark Stone has been removed from injured reserve on the NHL media site. Earlier today, head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters including Jesse Granger of The Athletic that Stone would be a game-time decision tonight.
If the Golden Knights do get Stone back tonight against the Vancouver Canucks, it will be his first appearance in a month. The 29-year-old forward left a game against the Los Angeles Kings on October 14 and has been absent ever since. After registering three assists in the season opener, Stone looked like he was ready to repeat an impressive performance from 2020-21, when he scored 21 goals and 61 points in just 55 games. That was the first point-per-game season of his career (though he’s been very close previously), and earned him a top-10 finish in the Hart Trophy voting.
It’s not only his point production that has been missing from the Golden Knights lineup though. Stone’s defensive impact is tremendous, which may help explain why Vegas has allowed 42 goals through 14 games. Those numbers have turned around recently with the team righting the ship, but getting their captain back would only help push them in the right direction.
Remember, while Stone is coming back off long-term injured reserve, the Golden Knights are still deep into their LTIR relief now that Jack Eichel is with the club. When everyone is healthy the team will have a difficult time fitting everything in, but activating Stone won’t cause a cap issue right away.