Nate Schmidt is week to week for the Vegas Golden Knights with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period of their season-opening 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks.
The defenseman was helped off the ice at 9:29 of the first period Wednesday after a knee-to-knee collision with San Jose forward Logan Couture.
Schmidt had 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 61 games for Vegas last season after missing the first 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. The Golden Knights were 8-11-1 without him.
"I hope it's not 20 games," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "But when you lose great players, and when we lost Nate last year, it's tough. He's one of our best defensemen, he plays a lot of minutes. It's a big loss for us. Hopefully it's not too long and he'll be back. But it gives somebody an opportunity to play."
The Golden Knights play at the Sharks on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). Defenseman Nicolas Hague could make his NHL debut in place of Schmidt.
"You hate to see a guy go down, especially a guy like [Schmidt]," Hague said. "Great teammate, obviously an unbelievable player and we want him on the ice. But I don't know what's going to happen with that. If I do get the call, I'll try and take advantage."
NHL.com independent correspondent Danny Webster contributed to this report