Unless you've been living in a cave, you're surely aware by now of the revelations that young Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has leveled against the organization, leading many to believe that the two sides could soon be headed for a messy divorce.
“There’s been a bit of a disconnect between myself and the organization,” Eichel said Monday. “It’s been tough at times. Right now, for me, the most important thing now is to try to get healthy and figure out a way to be available to play hockey next year, wherever that might be.”
Eichel has yet to play meaningful hockey in his relatively young six-year NHL career, and the Sabres don't appear any closer to breaking their decade-long playoff futility streak than they were when he was drafted 2nd overall behind Connor McDavid in 2015.
Could this provide the opportunity for one of the National Hockey League's shrewdest general managers to swoop in? According to one Detroit News writer, it could be a possibility.
John Niyo floated the suggestion in an article earlier this afternoon that it wouldn't be inconceivable for Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman to let the thought of swinging another major hockey deal marinate in his head for a bit. Of course, Niyo is quick to point out that the actual chances of something happening are relatively low - but then again, Yzerman has been known to pull off some rather eyebrow raising moves, perhaps none bigger than his acquisition of Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, and a 1st and 2nd round draft choice in exchange for underachieving forward Anthony Mantha last month.
"And the Wings? Well, no team has more salary-cap space heading into the summer than Detroit, and Yzerman does have the kind of prospects and future assets to make a viable offer for Eichel, an elite No. 1 pivot who’s only 24 and under contract for five more seasons at $10 million per year.
I’m not sure there’s a great match here on either side, really. If the Sabres are ultimately forced to deal their captain, they’d undoubtedly look to move him out of their division, if not the conference. And while Eichel’s no-movement clause doesn’t kick in until next summer, it seems unlikely he’d be keen on jumping from one rebuild to another, anyway."
Hey, we've seen stranger things happen. And if there's any GM that's shown he's willing to roll the dice on major deals, it's Yzerman.