Many, myself included, were surprised to see Jack Eichel still officially a member of the Buffalo Sabres roster after the first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft had concluded. For weeks now we have heard, despite the best efforts of Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams to suggest otherwise, that the relationship between Eichel and the Sabres is irreparably damaged and that as a result of this the Sabres captain will be traded before he ever suits up for another game in Buffalo.
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently reached out to Eichel's representation to ask about the recent comments made by Adams suggesting he would be fine with Eichel starting the season on the Sabres, and the answer from Eichel's agents was quite clear.
"Our expectation is that Jack is going to be traded in the near future, and all of our discussions have been centred around that issue," said Eichel's reps as per Friedman.
So where will Eichel end up becomes the big question. According to the insider there are at least 3 teams that currently remain in the mix for the star forward, although Friedman admits there may be others he is missing, with those teams being the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames. Interestingly enough these are all 3 teams that are expected to make significant moves this upcoming offseason, so I can certainly see a world in which all 3 of them would have a great deal of interest in making a splash of this magnitude.
The New York Rangers have long since been rumored to be a front runner but reports over the weekend appear to strongly indicate that they have taken themselves out of the running after repeatedly refusing to meet the ask of the Buffalo Sabres. It is always possible that both teams will circle back, but it sounds like the Rangers and the Sabres were very far apart on a potential return.
There was also a pretty big rumor over the weekend that linked the Montreal Canadiens to Eichel, this after Friedman revealed the two sides had held heavy talks on the subject of an Eichel trade, however Canadiens insider Eric Engels appears to believe they are also out of the running, leaving just the 3 Friedman has mentioned.