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  1. NHL

NHL: DeBoer excited for Eichel

Coach Peter DeBoer says he is excited to have Jack Eichel as part of his Vegas Golden Knights line-up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Vegas, 15/2 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, acquired the 25-year-old from the Buffalo Sabres in early November and instantly gave him permission to undergo artificial disk replacement surgery on a neck injury.

Ground-breaking procedure

Now recovered from the operation, which has never carried out on an NHL player before, Eichel is set to make his Golden Knights debut on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

Captain Mark Stone has been placed on long-term injury reserve to make salary cap space for the dynamic centreman.

Eichel scored 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 21 games for the Sabres last season before sitting out the final 33 games as he and Buffalo disagreed over the solution to his injury.

With the relationship souring, Vegas swooped in to acquire the American who has scored at least 24 goals in each of his first five NHL seasons.

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Key performer

In 375 regular season games with the Sabres, Eichel has amassed 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists). He is yet to play in the playoffs where DeBoer believes he is ready to make an impact.

The Golden Knights (28-17-3) lead the Pacific Division and look set to make a fifth straight playoff appearance since joining the NHL in 2017. 

DeBoer said to the media about Eichel: "He's never played an NHL playoff game yet, and I know that's exciting for him.

"That's a whole different level of hockey when you get to that time of year. So, I'm excited for him because I think he's going to excel in that type of game and I know he's excited about the opportunity to play playoff hockey."

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