This has been a roller-coaster ride, not only for Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel, but also for fans keeping up with the trade chatter.
On Tuesday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed that he did not get the sense that the Sabres had given Eichel permission to speak with other teams. However, general manager Kevyn Adams apparently has and Pierre LeBrun now reports that six teams make sense to acquire the top forward now that talks are getting more serious and intense.
LeBrun notes that the Sabres will be expecting to demand a 2021 first-round pick as part of their return for Eichel, putting the timeline for a deal ahead of the July 23 NHL Draft. The insider lists the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers among the many clubs that could make sense as a landing spot.
The forward, who’s under contract through 2025-26 with a $10-million cap hit, intends to mull over his future this summer. He was especially upset with the Sabres’ demands not to undergo surgery on the herniated disc in his neck. Eichel played his last game of the campaign for the league-worst Sabres on March 7 before being ruled out for the remainder due to his neck injury. Eichel went on to say that there’s a “disconnect” between him and the Sabres organization regarding a neck injury that he suffered and that his focus is on getting healthy for next season “wherever that may be.”
The team is reportedly hesitant to pull the trigger on the surgery, while Eichel and his doctor are pushing to get the surgery done this offseason.
Back in May, Friedman reported that Adams had confirmed that the Sabres are still not comfortable with Eichel’s process. He even added: “Whatever Eichel decides to do it’s going to be in conjunction with the next team that acquires him.”
We all got the sense that Eichel wanted out of Buffalo. The Sabres won the lottery and have the No. 1 pick for the upcoming draft this summer, but they might end up with another pick in the first ten selections if the rumours state true.
If the Sabres are big sellers this summer, potentially losing Eichel and Sam Reinhart, you can understand why they would look to get a top draft pick for the ultimate rebuild in Buffalo.
The Kings hold the eighth overall pick, while the Ducks have the third spot and the Jackets, the fifth. The Flyers are set to select 13th, and the Rangers two behind.