Breach of contract coming to end Eichel vs Sabres stalemate?

Can they just tear this thing up? Can they toll the contract Alexei Yashin style? The latest from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.


Things are about to get real interesting in the messy divorce between superstar Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres this week.

With the Sabres currently running through their training camp and pre-season schedule and with Eichel still holding firm in his demand for a trade, the team is going to be faced with a difficult decision to make come October 1st. You see, the next year on Eichel's $10 million annual contract kicks in and because he's injured the team will be forced to pay him. Sure, he's not a training camp but that's not his decision technically because he failed his training camp physical due to injury. Injured players cannot report for duty and are expected to rest and rehabilitate while collecting their salary. 

So, again, the Sabres have a decision to make. Do they continue going down this path while still seeking a trade? Do they suspend Eichel and toll his contract? More from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman:

"Teams are still calling but I just don't know how this (a trade) is going to happen. I know that they've admitted they could solve it through rest, but that's not the case. There's still a surgery needed here and they can't agree on it. You know one of the things that happens here is once the puck drops, they've got to pay him because he's injured."

"Everybody is sitting here wondering what's going to happen. People are wondering to me, 'are the Sabres going to suspend him so they don't have to pay him'? If they suspend him and he doesn't get surgery are they going to argue to toll the contract? Which means that the year doesn't come off, kinda like the Alexei Yashin thing."

"And, you know, I think the NHL has to step in here. I do. I understand that the NHL wants to protect the rules of the CBA, I get that. But at the end of the day I don't think it's a good look for your league when you have a star player like this and a team that can't agree on this and this player... is in some ways held back from playing because they can't agree on a surgery."

Eichel, of course, requested a trade from the team this past offseason after a disagreement over an experimental neck surgery that Eichel and his camp feel is necessary. The Sabres maintain that a more conventional fusion surgery is preferred over the disc replacement surgery that Eichel is pushing for and this disagreement has ultimately led the two sides to seek an arrangement elsewhere. But... it appears the Sabres are having difficulty pulling the trigger on a deal. Needless to say, things are about to get very interesting.