NHL fans outraged as Stone cleared for practice with Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone has been cleared to practice after suffering a lacerated spleen on February 20.

For the second straight year, the Golden Knights placed Stone’s $9.5 million cap hit on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), which allowed them to make some major upgrades to their roster, acquiring Anthony Mantha, Noah Hanifin, and Tomas Hertl ahead of the trade deadline.

Last season, Stone was placed on LTIR with a back injury, but was deemed good to go for game one of the playoffs, where the salary cap is no longer in place. Many believed the Golden Knights were up to the same trickery this year, and given today’s news, they are not happy.

While fans are frustrated, nothing the Golden Knights are doing is technically against league rules. The NHL has been adamant in the past that they do full research into making sure players on LTIR are indeed injured and unable to play. Whether they do that properly is a heavily debated topic, but what they are doing is something every team is technically able to do with an injured player.

It is also worth noting that a lacerated spleen is a serious injury, so it isn’t as if this was completely fabricated. That said, if he can return for game one of the opening round, the timing is certainly suspicious and will draw even more outrage from fans of opposing teams.

Though they have struggled in recent months, the Golden Knights are a talented team looking to defend last year’s Stanley Cup championship. Getting Stone back would be a huge boost in helping them do just that, as the 31-year-old had 16 goals and 53 points through 57 games before his injury.