When we said things were getting messy between the Buffalo Sabres and captain Jack Eichel, we never thought they could get messier.
But they are as we speak.
We all know there is no fairytale at the moment in Buffalo. At the end of the Sabres’ season earlier this month, Eichel met with media and appeared to hint more than once at a much-needed change of scenery for the future.
The forward, who’s under contract through 2025-26 with a $10-million cap hit, intends to mull over his future this summer. He was especially upset with the Sabres’ demands not to undergo surgery on the herniated disc in his neck. Eichel played his last game of the campaign for the league-worst Sabres on March 7 before being ruled out for the remainder due to his neck injury. Eichel went on to say that there’s a “disconnect” between him and the Sabres organization regarding a neck injury that he suffered and that his focus is on getting healthy for next season “wherever that may be.”
The team is reportedly hesitant to pull the trigger on the surgery, while Eichel and his doctor are pushing to get the surgery done this offseason.
On Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that general manager Kevyn Adams has confirmed that the Sabres are still not comfortable with Eichel’s process. He even added: "Whatever Eichel decides to do it’s going to be in conjunction with the next team that acquires him.”
Eichel played his last game of the campaign for the league-worst Sabres on March 7 before being ruled out for the remainder due to his neck injury. It just feels like Eichel, who has served as Sabres captain since 2018-19 and has spent his entire six-year career with Buffalo, will be wearing a different uniform next season.
Friedman added this: “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Sabres answer to this is to potentially punt the situation to another team.”
The insider also mentioned that he “believes any team that acquires Jack Eichel has to be cool with how he handles this injury. However, EF also mentions teams are asking if Eichel gets traded is he willing to bend to a new team because he wants to make a good impression?”
Friedman went to say he believes a deal could be in the works sooner than we think.
"It's clear there is a clear lack of trust between Eichel and the Sabres right now."
"Again, this is me talking, nobody is telling me this, I wonder if this is a deal that happens sooner rather than later for that reason."
A messier mess indeed…