Why Getting Jack Eichel Back Won't Be Enough

Jack Eichel will be a major addition to a struggling Vegas Golden Knights lineup. But why won't that be enough to curb their misfortunes?
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights are getting a key player back soon. Jack Eichel, the unequivocal leader of the team, is expected back in the next game or two. The superstar center is expected to return for the first time since his lower-body injury against the Boston Bruins on January 11. It's bringing excitement and anticipation among Golden Knights fans.

But not everything is unicorns and ice cream in Sin City. While the native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, will bring some bite back into the offense, it won't be the end-all solution for the Vegas Golden Knights. Jack Eichel is just one person, after all.

The Vegas Golden Knights Need More Forward Depth

Of course, getting Eichel back will immediately impact a Golden Knights team starved of offense. However, you can't just rely on a third of your lineup being Henderson Silver Knights to do the job. Such players don't have the necessary NHL experience to regularly contribute. That's where the trade deadline comes in.

There are numerous trade deadline candidates the Vegas Golden Knights can go after. Whether it's Jake Guentzel or Frank Vatrano, bringing an experienced goal scorer can pump life into the Golden Knights's absent offense. After all, this isn't NHL 2024, where you can have Eichel score 10-15 goals a game.

Yes, you'll have to part with some prospects and/or draft picks to get such superstars. However, general manager Kelly McCrimmon (and any rational person, for that matter) understands that nothing comes free. You must make some sacrifice to get another Stanley Cup.

Return of Key Vegas Golden Knights

But what if McCrimmon only gets one asset at the trade deadline? Or what if *GASP* he doesn't get anything at all? How will the Vegas Golden Knights skate into the Stanley Cup playoffs with a withered group of forwards?

Well, dear reader, there is some good news. The Golden Knights have some offensive pieces that can come back. With players like Brett Howden and Pavel Dorofeyev, there's a chance Vegas will nearly be functional come playoff time.

Of course, there's also the absence of Mark Stone, who's dealt with his fair share of injuries in the past. The center is questionable to return during the playoffs, leaving a massive void in the lineup. That's where the trade deadline helps. If McCrimmon can swing a trade for a player like Vatrano or Guentzel, it'll boost the Golden Knights without waiting for Stone.

While Jack Eichel's imminent return will be wonderful news, there's still more pieces to fill the voids. Vegas can't just rely on AHL-level players to do the job, especially with most of them being unseasoned. Hopefully, McCrimmon and company will answer the call come March 8.