It was exciting to read from TSN’s Darren Dreger that ongoing discussions and additional access to Eichel’s medical file has helped teams with trade interest clearly see his situation. He adds that both the Sabres and Eichel are hopeful a deal can be worked out soon with one of the interested teams.
However, Elliotte Friedman added to the report in his latest 32 Thoughts column stating that there is now a push to find a solution to this saga seeing that Eichel could face serious consequences in awaiting neck surgery.
As you know, Eichel failed his physical at the Buffalo Sabres’ training camp and was stripped of his captaincy. His trade and future remain uncertain all because the team and its franchise player remain at an impasse over surgery options. Eichel favors having artificial disk replacement surgery. The Sabres are against him having the procedure because it has never been performed on an NHL player. However, the Sabres’ way means that a patient could have three surgeries in 20 years.
Friedman points out that this newfound urgency to get a trade done could be linked to the devastating consequences the wait for a surgery could have on Eichel.
“On Eichel: there is a real push to find a solution, because Eichel’s displaced disc can’t be allowed to just sit on the nerve. He is going to need a procedure sooner rather than later. What’s helped is he’s getting his own MRIs, so he and his representatives can share proper information. That’s a big deal. More difficult to answer is whether or not he is traded first or gets surgery, returns to health and plays games for the Sabres to regain his trade value. No one will go on record, but there is a growing belief there are teams willing to accept Eichel’s preferred disc replacement. However, you have to be able to make the trade first. There’s definitely a push to get him healthy — which should be the number-one priority.”
Eichel was limited to 21 games in 2021 due to the neck injury. He has been the subject of trade talk since the end of last season and his former agents released a statement in July trying to spur a trade. He switched agents to Pat Brisson in August and it is believed he is speaking with Adams and interested teams to get something happening!
Eichel is under contract through 2025-26 with a $10-million cap hit.