As confirmed by the Vegas Golden Knights organization, forward Mark Stone underwent successful back surgery on Tuesday, January 31, and is expected to make a full recovery. He will be out of the lineup indefinitely. If he’s out for the rest of the regular season — which seems possible — the Golden Knights could open up considerable cap space (over $12 million) by placing him on LTIR. A big trade is likely in an effort to try and replace some of his production, even though the player himself will be nearly impossible to replace.
Injury issues are nothing new for Stone who appeared in only 37 games during the 2021-22 season. He still managed 30 points and this season, he played in 43 games but it’s likely he was playing many of the games with nagging issues. Officially, he suffered the injury on January 12 and began rehab shortly thereafter.
The veteran winger is extremely important to the Golden Knights offense. He’s in his fifth season with the team and he stirs the drink as far as their energy goes. Since he left the lineup the team has struggled, going 2-6-2 in their last 10. Not to mention, regular offensive producers have dried up. Chandler Stephenson has zero goals in his last 8 games, Jack Eichel has no goals in the last six games, Reilly Smith has zero goals in the last 10 games, and Jonathan Marchessault has no goals in his last seven games.
The Golden Knights sit third in the Pacific Division with a 29-18-4 record but there’s going to be a concern they could fall into a Wild card spot and eventually out of the race if they don’t get things turned around and rather quickly. Expect the team to explore the trade market almost immediately and it’s likely with over $12 million in cap space the Golden Knights will make a big splash.
Next: Larkin Contract Talks w/ Red Wings Stalled: 4 Likely Trade Targets
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