This is the story of the offseason, so get used to it. Forward Jack Eichel has been trending in trade rumours ever since the Buffalo Sabres were out of contention, and talks heated up when the captain admitted that he would mull over his future with the organization this summer. He was especially upset with the Buffalo Sabres’ demands not to undergo surgery on the herniated disc in his neck. 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.”
While the injury wasn’t supposed to be an issue in a potential trade, now with time passing on, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes this has become another issue in trade talks. In his latest 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman reveals how interested teams might get out of the Eichel sweepstakes.
“I think the only thong that’s suddenly becoming an issue here is, if you don’t do this soon, is the acquiring team going to be comfortable that Eichel is going to have enough time to recover to be ready for next year?”
Friedman also pointed out that the asking price is too much, which was one of the first issues mentioned in a potential trade. Just recently, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported 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.
Eichel is under contract through 2025-26 with a $10-million cap hit and 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.
Earlier this month, LeBrun reported that six teams make sense to acquire Eichel now that talks are getting more serious and intense, and listed the Minnesota Wild, along with the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers among the many clubs that could make sense as a landing spot.
However, these interested parties might be scared to commit such a blockbuster deal to a player who could be sidelined when the 2021-22 season kicks off.