Mark Stone’s Return Sparks Controversy as Golden Knights Utilize LTIR Loophole

Ethan Miller | Credit: Getty Images

Examine the controversy surrounding Mark Stone's return to practice with the Golden Knights as they utilize the LTIR loophole just before the playoffs.

The return of Mark Stone to the Golden Knights practice just two games before the playoffs is stirring up controversy in the NHL. Wearing a non-contact jersey, Stone’s return is raising eyebrows as many opponents question the timing of his comeback. NHL insider Frank Seravalli expressed his thoughts on Twitter, stating, “I don’t think anyone questions the severity of Mark Stone’s back injury. But I think many opponents will question the timing of his return, after the Golden Knights spent $7.25 million of Stone’s cap hit on LTIR.”

The issue revolves around the Golden Knights using the Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) to hide Stone’s cap hit. This move enabled the team to allocate that extra cap space to other players and then activate Stone for the playoffs, where cap hit does not apply. This practice has been a significant point of contention in the league, as other teams have utilized this loophole in recent years.

The 30-year-old winger has 17 goals and 21 assists for a total of 38 points in 43 games played. Unfortunately, Stone has been plagued with injuries lately, limiting his appearances to 43 games this year and only 37 games the previous year.

As the playoffs approach, the Golden Knights will be hoping for a strong performance from Stone, while other teams continue to question the ethics of using the LTIR loophole. The controversy surrounding this practice highlights the need for the NHL to address the issue and ensure a fair playing field for all teams, but we will see if Stone is actually in the line-up game 1 of playoffs.

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