It's not exactly a secret around the NHL that Buffalo Sabres superstar Jack Eichel is available on the trade market.
After another brutal start to the season the Sabres look once again like a team who will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are looking to make it an even decade between playoff appearances. As you might expect, this had lead to a number of trade rumors. Eichel is available, pending free agent and big offseason addition Taylor Hall is available and the Sabres would take a bag of pucks back for Jeff Skinner at this point. It appears everyone in Buffalo not named "Rasmus Dahlin" is available and teams are coming calling, especially when it comes to Eichel.
In his latest column for The Athletic, Boston Bruins insider Fluto Shinzawa reports that, while the Bruins are interested, the cost of acquisition is very, very steep. Not only does Shinzawa reports that the Bruins would have to give up one of David Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy, but that they'd likely have to include a top young player like Trent Frederic as well. And that's not all...
“I think you’re looking at McAvoy and Frederic, probably minimum,” a league source said to Shinzawa. “Minimum.”
Add in the fact that the Bruins would have to walk away from pending free agents like David Krjeci and Tuukka Rask due to the salary restraints of bringing Eichel on board and the cost becomes Pastrnak/McAvoy, Krejci, Rask, Frederic... and God knows what else.
Unlike most teams, the Bruins could incorporate Eichel’s cap hit under their ceiling. They could make $14.25 million in cap space available by not re-signing Krejci and Tuukka Rask, both unrestricted after this season.
The most equitable conversation would begin with Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy, both of whom the Bruins adore. Pastrnak, 24, is an offensive firestarter whom the Bruins stole in 2014. McAvoy, 23, is the Bruins’ MVP this year and blue-line alpha dog.
An alternative template of young player, prospect and first-round selection would probably not fly. Traditionally, young stars move for similar pieces:
Patrik Laine for Pierre-Luc Dubois, Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen, Jonathan Drouin for Mikhail Sergachev. If Buffalo moves Eichel primarily for futures, the franchise would signal yet another rebuild to its fans and sponsors.
Honestly, there are just too many variables in an Eichel to Boston trade that make it seem impossible in my eyes. He's much more likely to end up on a rebuilding West Coast team like the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings, two teams with plenty of young assets to meet the Sabres' demands.