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Have Golden Knights’ Found Way Around Trades to Fit In Eichel Return?

Have the Vegas Golden Knights found a sneaky way to get around having to make a big trade to fit in Jack Eichel’s contract?

With a Jack Eichel return to the NHL right around the corner and with the Vegas Golden Knights in need of making room to fit in his $10 million salary, it’s no surprise that NHL teams are eagerly waiting to see what the Golden Knights do and who the team might end up moving to clear space. But, according to Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna of Daily Faceoff, these same teams are also starting to worry about the idea that Vegas has found a sneaky way around having to make a trade.

Related: Flames Rumored to Be Interested in Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli

According to the two NHL insiders, instead of clearing cap space with a trade, there’s talk that the Vegas Golden Knights might be thinking about placing captain Mark Stone back on LTIR. Seravalli didn’t say this was a certainty, noting that he’s not trying to raise alarms, but he did say, “all I can tell you is that is exactly what rival general managers have begun to talk about.”

Specifically, people took notice when Stone wasn’t with the team on Wednesday. Seravalli explains:

“I can tell you from talking to people around the league that there were a lot of eyebrows that perked up on Wednesday night when Mark Stone missed the game and Pete DeBoer confirmed afterwards that this is a reoccurrence of the back injury that caused him to miss 29 days earlier in the season.”

When asked if that means Vegas won’t have to make a trade, Seravalli responded with, “It is possible.”

Stone Going on LTIR Makes Eichel Possible

If this is the direction the Golden Knights are going, there will certainly be cries of cap circumvention. But, if the NHL and Nikita Kucherov’s situation in Tampa Bay has proven anything, it’s that it doesn’t take much to get around the cap issues and bring back a player solely for the playoffs.

Moving Stone’s $9.5 million salary until the postseason would give the team enough space to make the moves they need to. It could get a little tight if the Golden Knights plan to activate defenseman Alec Martinez and Eichel, but it shouldn’t mean having to move Reilly Smith or Evgeni Dadonov to make the contracts work.

Again, this isn’t a report that Stone is going on LTIR or that his injury isn’t legitimate. This is only a report to suggest that teams have taken notice about the timing of Stone’s absence and wondering if something might be going on behind the scenes to avoid the Golden Knights having to dump players.

Next: Oilers Prioritizing Right-Shot Defenseman Over Goalie at Trade Deadline

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