In this edition of Vegas Golden Knights News & Rumors, Evgenii Dadonov remains with the team after the NHL chose to veto a deadline day trade that would have sent him to the Anaheim Ducks. In other news, there has been optimism that both Robin Lehner and Mark Stone may soon return to the lineup, though Lehner’s status may have changed after he was injured in practice on March 29. Meanwhile, Brett Howden was forced to leave March 24’s game on a stretcher as a result of a hit that head coach Pete DeBoer was not a fan of.
Dadonov Elevating Play Since Trade Debacle
As everyone is well aware of by this point, a trade that was supposed to send Dadonov to the Ducks fell through after it was realized that they were one of the 10 teams on his 10-team no trade list. It was a pretty awkward situation for the 33-year-old, but to his credit he has handled it extremely well.
“I would say it was a couple stressful days,” Dadonov admitted last week. “Nothing I could do, I was just waiting on a decision.”
He also went on to say that he took no issue with the deal, clearly understanding that the team was looking to move him in order to create more cap space. One positive out of this strange situation is that it has seemed to spark Dadonov, who has five points over his past two games, including the overtime winner against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 26. He is now up to 17 goals and 32 points in 64 games this season.
Status of Lehner & Stone Remain Unclear
“Lehner, I think, is real close,” McCrimmon said. “He was on the ice today. He was on the ice last week. I would think by week’s end he’d be able to play. Stone’s going to be a little longer than that.
“The thing with Stone that we were kind of told right from the start is, ‘You know, just because you’re giving us this chunk of time, there’s no guarantees.’ It’s not like with a broken wrist. It’s not like anything that you can quantify the return date. It’s a little tricky, so the best I can say is we’re hopeful and expecting that but can’t tell you that it’s going to happen.”
While Lehner’s status sounded certain at the time, that may not be the case anymore. The 30-year-old reportedly suffered a shoulder injury in Tuesday’s practice after taking a shot up high. How much time he could potentially miss has yet to be announced.
As for Stone, there was plenty of talk at the time he was placed on long-term injured reserve that he could miss the remainder of the regular season. With the Golden Knights in a much tighter playoff race than anyone predicted, they may be forced to activate him earlier than planned. Activating him will take some salary cap gymnastics by management, as they currently have just $760,000 in cap space.
Howden Recovering After Scary Collision
This past Thursday, Howden was a part of a scary collision that resulted in him being stretchered off the ice. Lugging the puck to center ice in the first period against the Nashville Predators, he was just able to dump the puck in before getting driven into the boards hard by Filip Forsberg. While Forsberg is not that type of player, it was still a reckless play, one that DeBoer was not happy about when he spoke to reporters postgame.
“I thought liberty was taken. He was in a vulnerable position and I thought he got driven into the boards from behind in a dangerous spot,” DeBoer said. “My initial concern was obviously about our player. It was a really dangerous hit, and anytime you see someone get stretchered off your concern is there.”
Thankfully, Howden appears to be okay as he was released from the hospital the following day. DeBoer confirmed that while no bones were broken, he remains quite sore and will miss some time, though an exact timeline is unclear at this point.
Up Next for the Golden Knights
The Golden Knights will take to the ice for the first time in four games on Wednesday night in a game against the Seattle Kraken, and will see them a second straight time on Friday as well. They will then head to Vancouver to face the Canucks for their final game of the week. Every game is of huge importance to them moving forward as they are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture with just 14 games remaining.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.