NHL Roundup: Jack Eichel skates in Vegas, Evander Kane deal close, and more
There was plenty of significant NHL news on Tuesday. From Las Vegas to Pittsburgh, two comeback stories at different stages played out. Plus, Evander Kane is now a free agent and a deal is coming this weekend.
We begin with Jack Eichel in Vegas.
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NHL News: Eichel skates with Knights
Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel skated Tuesday in his first practice since November spinal surgery.
Eichel, wearing a red non-contact jersey, joined his teammates for the optional morning skate in Las Vegas.
“Nice to see him,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “At the same time, you want to temper your enthusiasm, because this is just the first step.”
Eichel, 25, had been rehabilitating in Charlotte, N.C., following an artificial disk replacement in his neck.
At the time of his surgery, Eichel said he expected to return within three months and be back at full strength in six months.
Today, he was all smiles with his new teammates and getting closer to returning to action.
“I was actually thinking about suiting up tonight,” Eichel said jokingly. “But they wouldn’t let me go.”
Evander Kane deal close
After the San Jose Sharks officially terminated Evander Kane’s deal Sunday night by placing him on unconditional waivers, the NHLPA and his agent filed a grievance.
Yesterday, Pierre LeBrun touched base with Kane’s agent Dan Milstein, who said: “We are interviewing with teams. Almost done. Contract by weekend.”
According to Michael Traikos there are at least six teams that have shown interest. They include the Maple Leafs, Oilers, Hurricanes, Panthers, Golden Knights, and Lightning.
Toronto was considered a frontrunner earlier today, but that has changed. Oilers GM Ken Holland confirmed on Tuesday that he spoke with Kane’s agent.
“I’ve talked to his agent, his agent is Dan Milstein — I know Dan very well because he was Pavel Datsyuk’s agent,” Holland said referencing his Detroit days. “As the manager, it’s my responsibility to investigate every situation.”
Kane, 30, led the Sharks in goals (22) and assists (27) while appearing in all 56 games last season.
Malkin returns with three points
The Penguins just got a huge boost to their team with the return of Evgeni Malkin.
He produced two goals and an assist in his season debut and Jeff Carter added two scores as the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins earned a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
Malkin, who has been out since surgery in June to repair the ACL and MCL in his right knee, found the net twice in the second period, scoring in a regular-season game for the first time since March 15 against the Boston Bruins.
“Coach (Mike Sullivan) told me before the game to play short, play simple and you’ll be fine. I tried to do it,” Malkin said via NHL.com. “Just happy the first game is done. We win and just keep going.”
Nicklas Lidstrom joins Red Wings front office
The Detroit Red Wings hired franchise legend Nicklas Lidstrom as vice president of hockey operations Tuesday.
The seven-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion played his entire 20-year career in Detroit from 1991-2012. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Lidstrom, 51, will be involved in all aspects of hockey operations for the Red Wings, who have not been to the NHL playoffs since the 2015-16 season.
“I’m super excited to be back with the Wings,” Lidstrom said. “It’s been on my mind for a bit of time to get involved with hockey again, especially with the Wings.”
Tuukka Rask back in Boston
The Boston Bruins are bringing back goaltender Tuukka Rask for the rest of the season on a prorated one-year, $1-million contract, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.
He is expected to earn $545,000 based on the number of games remaining in the season.
Rask, 34, had played out an 8-year, $56-million contract and was an unrestricted free-agent as he worked his way back from July surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
“I feel great … I don’t have to think about (the hip) locking up on me again and creating that pain,” Rask said last week.