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Jack Eichel Undergoes Disk Surgery for Neck Injury After Trade to Golden Knights

Erin WalshNovember 12, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 08:  Newly acquired Vegas Golden Knights player Jack Eichel celebrates a kid's goal as he participates in a youth clinic at a ball hockey rink at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada on November 8, 2021 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights traded for Eichel and a conditional draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and two conditional draft picks on November 4. Eichel is expected to be available four months after undergoing an artificial disc replacement surgery in his neck.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel underwent disk replacement surgery on Friday and is expected to make a full recovery, the team announced.

The Golden Knights said the surgery was successful and they will provide additional details on Eichel's timetable to return "when appropriate."

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski reported Thursday that Eichel was expected to have surgery at the Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic and would remain in Denver for three weeks for observation before doing most of his rehab in Vegas.

Wyshynski adds that Eichel's expected recovery timeline is three months, which would mean he could return as soon as mid-February. 

Eichel, who was traded to Vegas from the Buffalo Sabres last week, thanked the Golden Knights on Monday for allowing him to undergo the procedure that caused a rift between himself and his former team. The Sabres wanted Eichel to undergo neck fusion surgery, while the star forward wanted the disk replacement procedure. 

The 25-year-old added that he hopes the NHL and NHLPA will reconsider their regulations on allowing teams to have full control over a player's medical treatment, per Sportsnet.

"I think my situation shined light on maybe some things that could be changed, and I hope that they are in the future," Eichel said. "I don't necessarily agree with the team having the full say in what to do with medical treatment. I think it should be a collaboration."

Eichel was introduced as a Golden Knight for the first time before Tuesday's game against the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Arena. He is expected to serve as the team's top center when he returns from injury. 

Vegas Golden Knights @GoldenKnights

JACK EICHEL IN THE FORTRESS!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VegasBorn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VegasBorn</a> <a href="https://t.co/0vQrMsBod6">pic.twitter.com/0vQrMsBod6</a>

Vegas Golden Knights @GoldenKnights

Did we do it again? <br><br>Yes, we DID do it again 😆<br><br>Welcome home, <a href="https://twitter.com/jackeichel?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jackeichel</a> 🤩<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VegasBorn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VegasBorn</a> <a href="https://t.co/EQxhPt7pGr">pic.twitter.com/EQxhPt7pGr</a>

The Boston University product spent six seasons with the Sabres after being drafted second overall in 2015. However, he has not played since March 7 because of his neck injury. 

Eichel signed an eight-year, $80 million contract extension with Buffalo before the 2017-18 season. He won't become a free agent until after the 2025-26 campaign.