Report: Jack Eichel to have surgery in Denver, rehab timeframe firmed up

Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) takes a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

Jack Eichel's artificial disc replacement surgery is scheduled to take place at Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic in Denver on Friday, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.

Eichel, who was obtained by the Vegas Golden Knights last week from the Buffalo Sabres, is expected to spend three weeks in Denver recovering, then move to Las Vegas where will spend the remainder of the expected three months of his rehab.

Eichel said Monday he was thankful for the support offered by the Golden Knights of the procedure that caused a rift with the Sabres over, triggering discontent with the organization and, ultimately, the trade.

Eichel said he hopes the NHL and NHL Players' Association will provide players more rights in determining how to treat injuries, while he acknowledged frustration in the delay in being able to get his procedure. He will have his herniated disc artificially replaced, something the Sabres denied because the procedure had never been performed on an NHL player. He lost nearly an entire season due to the stalemate over the treatment.

"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 is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $80 million contract. He topped 20 goals in each of his first five seasons and enjoyed a breakout year in 2019-20, when he had a career-best 36 goals in 68 games before the season was abruptly halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, he had 139 goals and 216 assists in 375 career games with Buffalo.

The Golden Knights acquired the 25-year-old Thursday in exchange for forward Alex Tuch, rookie center Peyton Krebs and two draft picks.

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