For the past week, the Jack Eichel trade chatter has died down. That probably has to do with the fact that it was reported that the captain is in Buffalo for his pre-training camp physical. But questions of whether he will be cleared to play and his future with the team in limbo remain. 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 TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday that GM Kevyn Adams believes that the best option is fusion surgery.
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.
You have to wonder if Eichel could be looking to sit out the entire 2021-22 season as he awaits to get the procedure he wants in order to make the Sabres pay for not trading him and not allowing him to get disk replacement surgery?
There have been so many changes and ups and downs in this trade saga that this speculation wouldn’t even be surprising at this point.
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 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.
What is next here? Could this speculation turn out to be true?