The Buffalo Sabres are something of a raging dumpster fire right now, and frankly that may be putting it mildly, and that fire reached its apex this week when team owners Terry Pegula and wife Kim Pegula gutted the organization, firing over 20 members of the Sabres front office. It was perhaps a necessary move given just how poorly the Sabres have fared for the better part of a decade now, but it was the kind of move that left many questions about the organization's future in both the short and the long term.
Perhaps the most poignant of those questions is the one regarding the future of disgruntled Sabres star Jack Eichel, an extremely talented NHL player who has experienced nothing but losing since being drafted by the Sabres in 2015. In fact Eichel is so unhappy that some took his recent comments in the media as a cry for help, or at the very least an indication that he wants out of Buffalo sooner rather than later.
"Listen, I'm fed up with losing and I'm fed up and I'm frustrated," said Eichel as per NBC Sports. "It's definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. It's been a tough couple of months, it's been a tough five years with where things have [gone].
"I'm a competitor. I want to win every time I go out on the ice. I want to win the Stanley Cup every time I start a season. I'd be lying if I said that I'm not getting frustrated with where things are going. it's been a pleasure working with (Sabres coach) Ralph (Krueger) and he does so much for our group every day. There are tough times and he does an amazing job of bringing us back in and narrowing our focus and getting us back to where we need to be mentally. But yeah, I'm definitely not in the greatest place with where the last little bit went and it's definitely worn on me."
No one in their right mind would blame Eichel for feeling this way and frankly I don't think anyone has blamed Eichel for wanting to be in a better situation. Given his undeniable value to the Sabres as a franchise however it is almost impossible to imagine a scenario in which the organization would willingly part with him, and his gigantic contract only makes that prospect even more difficult. Recently however one National Hockey League insider, Bruins insider Joe Haggerty, suggested that the Bruins should go after Eichel, a native of Massachusetts. Haggerty is not delusional, he realizes that the Bruins would have to give up some extremely valuable pieces to get Eichel, but he thinks there is a way the Bruins could make this work.
It would start with trading high-grade, young assets like promising young Michigan center and former first round pick John Beecher and restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk, along with a robust high draft pick package. Perhaps you don’t get out of an earth-shattering Eichel deal without including a young D-man like Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo, and that’s where the decision could get awfully difficult were it to ever get to that point.
Top level talent on the Bruins roster and additional draft picks may seem like a heavy price for Bruins fans, but the reality is that this will be the price you must pay if you want to acquire a bonafied superstar player via trade. There are also salary cap concerns here for the Bruins but Haggerty suggests that the inclusion of an aging player like David Krejci in the trade, who conveniently enough would likely be replaced by Eichel himself in the lineup, could help offset some of those costs. Haggerty himself acknowledges that this one is a long shot, but it would be a great way to allow Eichel to show his true potential at the NHL level and the haul the Sabres would get in return could potentially set that organization up to finally get out of the dark ages.