Sure, Jack Eichel is set to attend the Buffalo Sabres’ training camp, however, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the good news stops there.
Eichel hasn’t played since March 7 when he sustained a herniated disk that has created a widening rift between the player and the Sabres. 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 and would prefer him having fusion surgery.
In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Friedman believes that Eichel won’t pass his physical and thus won’t be cleared to play. He also believes the club will remove his captaincy.
If Eichel fails the physical this week, the Sabres have the option of placing him on injured reserve or long-term injured reserve because the injury is hockey related. If Eichel had chosen not to report and undergo the aforementioned physical, the team would have had the option to suspend the player.
This is so messy in Buffalo with one longtime executive said this week “this is the most complicated situation I’ve seen” during his career.
Eichel switched agents last month and is now represented Pat Brisson, who can make tough moves when necessary. Eichel is under contract through 2025-26 with a $10-million cap hit and GM Kevyn Adams is believed to be asking for a hefty return in exchange for his captain: he is reportedly seeking and not budging from his demand of the equivalent of four first-round picks, which could be anything from young, established roster players, A-level prospects, or actual first-round draft picks in the next two NHL drafts.
Friedman did say that teams are getting an eye on the trade chatter surrounding Eichel, but want to hear what the doctors say before pulling the trigger.
It feels like there’s no end in sight for this impasse, but the end of Eichel’s captaincy in Buffalo…