The Buffalo Sabres have seemingly mishandled their relationship with the organizations top player, star centerman Jack Eichel, and it would now appear as though it is only a matter of time before Eichel is sporting another team's jersey.
Eichel's issues with the Sabres have now been well documented and, in a recent mailbag for the Buffalo News, Buffalo journalist Lance Lysowski revealed that he believes the Sabres will soon let Eichel speak with opposing teams in the National Hockey League as they look to work out a trade for their former #2 overall pick in the draft. It may seem unusual for a team to allow a player currently under a long term contract to speak with other teams in the league, but according to Lysowski there will need to be assurances on all sides of this complicated equation when it comes to Eichel's current medical condition and the procedure that he wishes to undergo in order to correct it.
My prediction is that the Sabres will grant Eichel permission to talk to teams that are interested in trading for him. This dialogue will be necessary because any team acquiring Eichel must feel comfortable with his preference to have the particular surgery he is seeking to repair his injured neck.
Additionally Lysowski believes that this process will be a quick one given that the Sabres are unlikely to want to have Eichel seek a third opinion from a neutral arbitrator to resolve this medical dispute. Instead he believes the Sabres will look to punt the proverbial football on that problem over to the team that acquires him via a trade, a move that would effectively allow the Sabres to wash their hands of this entire mess and make it someone else's problem entirely.
Sadly this is probably not what fans in Buffalo were hoping to hear, with many no doubt still holding out hope that fences could be mended between the two sides, but as more and more time passes the more and more it feels like the writing is on the wall for both Jack Eichel and the team that drafted him into the NHL.