This just in from Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has fired agents Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli of Global Hockey Consultants and has hired super-agent Pat Brisson of CAA Sports.
Check it out:
This decision comes less than a month after Eichel released a statement through his previous representation, doubling down on his trade demands and issuing an ultimatum to the Sabres. In that statement Eichel's representation stated that they expected a resolution before the start of NHL free agency, which of course is now long past.
Eichel and the Sabres are at odds over a crucial neck vertebrae surgery that he requires before he can return to play. Eichel and his representation are seeking a somewhat experimental surgery that will replace his damaged discs, while the team is holding firm on its opinion that Eichel should opt for the more traditional disc fusion surgery. With the two sides digging their heels in over this matter it looks like Eichel won't be ready to begin the 2021-22 season with or without the Sabres, given that recovery from either surgery would be 6-8 weeks long.
It might be stating the obvious, but it looks like his time in a Sabres uniform is over. If you weren't convinced before, today's decision to change his representation should make it obvious to everyone that Eichel is doing everything possible to get out of Buffalo as soon as possible. The tricky part is that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams absolutely HAS to get fair value back for Eichel in a trade. And given that Eichel is withholding services and that he requires a pretty serious operation, you can't blame GMs around the NHL for being a bit apprehensive about acquiring him. Sure, if everything works out well you'll get a superstar, franchise centerman signed long-term. But if things go sideways then you'll be saddled with a $10 million cap hit for the next five seasons. Again, even the boldest GMs in the league likely have some reservations about Eichel.
Personally, I feel like it would be a shame for both the player and for the team to head into a new season without a resolution. At this point you just hope for a clean break so that both sides can move forward and forget about this entire ugly divorce.