The 2021-22 NHL season was an underwhelming one for the Vegas Golden Knights, to say the least. One of the very few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season was when the Pacific Division titan acquired star forward Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres — a move that was expected to rejuvenate Vegas’ forward assault and revamp Eichel’s career.
But even Eichel admits now that last season didn’t live up to expectations, both the public’s and his own. But this year is going to be different.
“Listen, I’m not going to make excuses,” Eichel told NHL.com. “I don’t think I played well last year in terms of my expectation of myself, and I’m sure the opinion of the public is probably pretty similar. They expect more out of me, and rightfully so.”
To be fair, Eichel didn’t have a completely wasted season. After debuting in February following artificial disk replacement surgery, the 25-year-old forward tallied 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 34 games. While that is pretty remarkable for a player who had gone through a major medical procedure, Eichel is still thankful for the time this offseason to completely right the ship.
“I was injured before having surgery for a long time, and you build a lot of compensations, and you get into a lot of poor patterns and other things start to act up,” Eichel said. “So it’s been a nice summer of trying to unwind a lot of things that maybe came with the injury, and just giving myself more time to heal and more time to do rehab and continue to just try and get back to feeling as much as myself as I can.”