LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Following their four-game road trip, the Golden Knights returned home, and were greeted by the newest member of the organization, Jack Eichel, following his trade from Buffalo.
Tuesday morning, more good news came, when captain Mark Stone returned to the ice for the first time in nearly four weeks.
"The finish line is still a ways out, but it's a boost for us coming off the road with some of the things we've dealt with just to see some of these guys around looking better than when we left," said Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer.
Nolan Patrick was also seen on the ice briefly with his teammates, DeBoer says he is "trending in a positive direction," but didn't have any timetable on a return.
Twelve games into the season and the Golden Knights have the same number of wins as they do losses, good enough for third worst int he Pacific Division.
"We're not happy being around 500, we're kind of 11-10, 11, 12- games into the season so we know what we have to do, what it looks like in order to win," explained DeBoer. "Ironically, probably our best game of the road trip was our last one and we lost. We want to build on that. We want to separate ourselves from the group here a little bit, we don't want to be happy winning one, losing one."
Tuesday night, the Golden Knights open up a six-game homestand, starting with the Seattle Kraken who have lost three of their last four and sit at the bottom of the division.
Injuries have been the name of the game for the Golden Knights all season, but DeBoer says injuries turn into opportunities for others. Vegas' bench boss said Tuesday morning that 21-year-old Paul Cotter will make his NHL debut against the Kraken. The 2018 fourth-round pick by the organization becomes the 5th player this season to make their NHL debut with the Golden Knights.
"I think I'm just worried about not falling," laughed Cotter. "I've been over in this in my head so many times, I think I'm just going to try and glide and get a shot off, maybe lap two or three I might do something cool or something, that should be exciting, but a little scary. I don't know if there is too much preparing there needs to do, been in the organization. I know the system, know the coaches, I think it's more what I'm expected to do. A few guys gave me taps, made sure I knew to put money on the board tonight, but other than that it's pretty normal."
Robin Lehner was the first goaltender off the ice at practice, he is the projected starter vs Seattle.