We all know that time is running out. And the Buffalo Sabres must know it today. Training camps are less than a few weeks away and fans are still waiting to see if Jack Eichel will be traded ahead of the 2021-22 season.
We know how serious Eichel is about getting shipped out of Buffalo as he recently hired agent Pat Brisson to make things happen. While he is still waiting to undergo surgery on a neck injury, the main issue is the asking price from Sabres’ GM Kevyn Adams. 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. But there aren’t many teams with the roster pieces and draft capital available to make that kind of offer to the Sabres…
On Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Sabres have re-engaged interested teams after meeting with Eichel’s representatives. While that does not mean a move will take place shortly, it is the most encouraging thing we’ve heard all month.
However, team insider John Vogl for The Athletic stayed realistic in his latest mailbag and answered the question most fans are wondering: What happens this fall if Eichel is still not traded?
This is how Vogl puts it: “First, let’s start with the assumption Eichel will not get traded in the next two weeks and reports to training camp. The opening day features physicals. Eichel will fail the physical because of the herniated disk in his neck.
Article 16.11 of the collective bargaining agreement states: “A player who finishes an NHL Season on the Injured Reserve List and continues to be disabled and unable to perform his duties as a hockey Player by reason of the same injury at the time he reports to the Club’s Training Camp in the next League Year will again be eligible to be placed on the Club’s Injured Reserve List.”
So, in theory, the Sabres could place Eichel back on IR and let him return home to Boston until a trade is finalized. Given the contentiousness between the parties, that’s the cleanest option.”
Vogl however claims that things could get ugly as the Sabres are know not to make things easier on players failing physicals:
“In 2007, the Sabres suspended Teppo Numminen without pay when he failed his physical because he needed heart surgery. In 1997, the Sabres refused to let Pat LaFontaine attend training camp because team doctors wouldn’t clear him because of concussions, though the captain had other doctors saying he was good to play.
Let’s say Eichel doesn’t report. According to Article 15.13 of the CBA: “For each day a Player does not report during Training Camp without his Club’s permission, his pay shall be reduced by 1/275th of his annual Paragraph 1 NHL Salary.”
With a salary of $10 million this season, 1/275th of Eichel’s pay is $36,363.64. He’d forfeit it for every day he was absent without permission.”
As you and I know, along with Vogl, the Sabres can avoid all that by finally getting Eichel moved out of Buffalo. Will it happen?