It finally happened! After the long awaited time frame Jack Eichel made his debut as a Vegas Golden Knight. This was a trade that was huge for the Golden Knights and one that they are hoping pays off in the long run (playoffs). So let’s recap Eichel’s Debut Week as a Vegas Golden Knight.
Jack Eichel Trade
Before talking about Jack Eichel as a Golden Knight let’s break down the trade. In case you are not aware of what (besides Tuch) brought Eichel to Vegas. What Buffalo got out of this trade consisted of Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a future first round pick and a future second round pick. What Vegas got out of this trade consisted of Jack Eichel and a future third round draft pick. So who wins this trade? Only time will tell as both Tuch and Eichel are back on ice playing for their new teams.
Jack Eichel Debut (vs Colorado)
JACK IS BACK‼️
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 14, 2022
It was announced on Valentine’s Day that Jack Eichel would make his debut as a Golden Knight on Wednesday 2/16 against the Avalanche. Which to most Golden Knights fans was possibly the best Valentine’s gift we could receive! This would be Eichel’s first game since he last played with the Buffalo Sabres on March 7, 2021. Which puts him at 11 months without playing a NHL game. He had artificial disk replacement surgery November 12, 2021.
So how did he do in first game? Honestly you could tell Eichel had not played hockey in 11 months. But we can not expect him to come out skating circles around everyone, especially against the Avalanche. Eichel recorded 0 points this game, 1 shot on goal and was on ice for 17:32. But you know what Eichel did get to experience again? A trip to the penalty box, actually two as he had two minor penalties this game. The Golden Knights lost this game 2-0. Overall game 1 of Eichel’s debut week was just eh.
Eichel’s Debut Week next two games (Kings and Sharks)
Golden Knights vs Kings
The next game the Golden Knights had on the schedule was 2/18 against the Kings. This is where it starts to get fun as Kings are in the division. Currently they are in 3rd with 61 points in the Pacific. The Golden Knights are 2nd with 62 points. Both teams have played 51 games. As far as Eichel goes though he got his first assist this game! This came in the 2nd period on a Pacioretty goal, Eichel and Hutton were credited with the assists. This game Eichel saw a little less ice time and shifts compared to the debut. He was on ice for 16:20 and 19 shifts. The Golden Knights ended up losing this one 4- 3 in overtime. Eichel seemed to be getting more in a groove with his line this game though!
Golden Knights vs Sharks
Perhaps my favorite games the Golden Knights play are against the Sharks. Again a divisional opponent and can not forget Game 7 in the 2019 playoffs. This is enough for them to be my least favorite team. So it was very fitting the Eichel got his first goal as a Golden Knight this game!! Every game fans were eagerly awaiting it and it came in the 1st period at the 14:34 time mark. This goal put the Golden Knights up 2-0 and was technically the game winner. But, Eichel was not done there he also recorded an assist on a Pacioretty goal in the 2nd. Although he only played 18 shifts he was on ice for 18:08. This performance was enough to earn him the 2nd star of the game! The Golden Knights also won this game 4-1.
Eichel’s Debut Week Summary
Although Eichel’s first game was just eh each of the following two games he got better. His second game saw him recording a point and his third game saw him recording 2 points. I see potential of him clicking with Pacioretty as he has already recorded 2 assists on his goals. Unfortunately, Eichel will not get a chance to skate with Stone who would be the 3rd component of that line till the playoffs. Stone was sent to LTIR but this move also saved the cap space (thanks lightning). So far I am liking Stephenson being the 3rd component of this line but I am curious to see how Eichel develops chemistry with the other players on the ice! For Eichel’s debut week this was not a bad performance!
Golden Knights weekend slate of games include 2/25 against the Coyotes and 2/26 against the Avalanche again.
Featured Image: Vegashockeynow.com
~Josie Averitt (JosieAve on Twitter)
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