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Knights’ new center expected to debut Monday against Canucks

Tomas Hertl’s Golden Knights debut appears imminent.

Hertl participated in line rushes in Sunday’s practice at City National Arena and is expected to play his first game with the Knights against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The 30-year-old skated at second-line left wing with center Chandler Stephenson and right wing Michael Amadio.

“(He’ll) probably play tomorrow,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ll finalize that tomorrow.”

Hertl has not played since Jan. 27 after undergoing left knee surgery. He had the procedure Feb. 12, when he was still a member of the San Jose Sharks.

The injury didn’t stop the Knights from acquiring Hertl from their division rival March 8. The Sharks gave up Hertl and two third-round picks and received center prospect David Edstrom and a 2025 first-round pick.

Hertl, who has spent much of his career at center, will start on the wing as he continues to adjust to the Knights’ system. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Hertl could move around since Hertl and Stephenson each have experience at center and wing.

Hertl will be on the first power-play unit as well playing in front of the net.

“He’s going to play his game,” Cassidy said. “He’s a puck-possession guy down low, so I think he’ll help with net presence with (Amadio) and (Stephenson).

Hertl was the Sharks’ leading scorer with 15 goals and 19 assists in 48 games before being sidelined. He has 484 points in 712 games during his NHL career.

He’s joining the Knights’ lineup at the right time.

The team entered Sunday in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Knights’ 7-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, coupled with the Los Angeles Kings’ three-game winning streak, dropped them from third place in the Pacific Division.

Hertl could help the team make a late push and avoid facing one of the Western Conference’s two division winners in the first round. The 6-foot-3 forward adds even more size to one of the tallest teams in the NHL.

“Any time you can add a player like that to your lineup is big,” Amadio said. “All the guys are excited to get him in and hopefully we get the win with him in.”

Hertl’s arrival has a similar feel to another big-name player that joined the Knights for a playoff push after recovering from an injury.

Jack Eichel made his debut for the team three months after he was acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 4, 2021. He had artificial disc replacement surgery a week following the deal.

Eichel had 25 points in 34 games down the stretch that season for the Knights, who missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

“As great as everyone is, you’re still living and going to a new city. It’s obviously a big transition,” Eichel said. “He’s been a lot of fun to be around every day. He brings a ton of energy to the rink.”

Hertl could provide the Knights a boost, but they still have a number of other lineup questions with six games remaining in the regular season.

The team got one goaltender back at practice Sunday before almost losing another.

Adin Hill took the ice with the Knights for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury March 23 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He will travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip but will not play Monday.

The plan was for goaltender Logan Thompson to start, though that seemed uncertain by the end of practice. Thompson appeared to injure himself during a drill and needed to be helped off the ice.

Cassidy said Thompson seemed fine afterwards.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, center Nicolas Roy and left wing William Carrier will not travel with the Knights on their road trip.

Pietrangelo has missed seven of the team’s last nine games with an illness. Roy is not expected to be out long term with an undisclosed injury. Carrier is considered day to day with an upper-body injury.

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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