Today has been a big day for news surrounding the Vegas Golden Knights, with coach Pete DeBoer being relieved of his duties this morning. That run of news now continues thanks to GM Kelly McCrimmon’s press conference today, where he revealed that captain Mark Stone, who battled injuries all year, would “most likely” be undergoing back surgery this offseason. McCrimmon did note that they expect Stone to be ready for training camp this fall, but this is nonetheless unwelcome news for a team looking to rebound from the most disappointing season in the history of their young franchise.
Stone, who just turned 30, struggled to stay healthy this season and only managed to get into 37 games. Stone’s back injury bothered him all season, leading to his placement on long-term injured reserve in early February. Stone did eventually return from LTIR in order to help the Golden Knights in their ultimately unsuccessful playoff push, but it now seems likely that his late-season activation from LTIR was more about trying to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive than it was about Stone’s back being fully recovered. If the cap-strapped Golden Knights have any hope of returning to contention next season, getting their captain back to 100% health should be a top priority, and it seems that they have elected a back surgery as the best way for Stone to get there.