February 23, 2021

Do the Rangers have to trade Alexis Lafreniere to acquire Jack Eichel?

Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Colin Blackwell (43) gets control of the puck from Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) in overtime period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel’s name has been mentioned a lot these days and his name will continue to be discussed. Almost every hockey publication has brought him up and top analysts don’t see him having much of a future in Buffalo.

If Eichel wants these rumors to end, he or his agents need to speak out about it or they’ll just keep going.

Jack Eichel trade talk only growing

Elliotte Friedman recently noted that he thinks Eichel will be traded. He drove the New York market into a frenzy when he mentioned the Rangers as the team to look out for. A Buffalo radio host injected the Los Angeles Kings as another team with the cap space and the assets to get a deal done. Recently, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period added two more teams to the mix.

For whatever the reason, this team can’t get it together and trading Eichel will only set them back that much more. But having a disgruntled captain is never a good thing. How much longer can the Sabres sell their plan before Eichel tells them to **** off? Maybe we find that out this off-season, and if we do, expect the Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and Anaheim Ducks to be among the teams in pursuit.

TFP

I’ve written extensively about the Rangers desire’s this past offseason to trade for Eichel, and they would be a frontrunner to land him. However, Larry Brooks of the NY POST believes the trade must include first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere.

Do the Rangers need to include Alexis Lafreniere in a Jack Eichel deal?

jack eichel rangers
Jan 26, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) is stopped at the goal by New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) and defenseman Adam Fox (23) in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t think he ever asked for a trade, but [Eichel] was restless and teams knew it,” Friedman explained to the hosts on WGR550. The natural follow up was what would the package look like and if it would be too big for teams? “Maybe Buffalo would look at it that way – we need a billion assets, the things is – what’s the market?”

Friedman did say he believes it will be a “robust market” for the 24 year-old center but not an enviable position for the Sabres. “He’s a number one center – here’s the problem guys, if Buffalo is trading him this offseason it’s because he wants a change and they want a change,” he said. “It’s not an easy position to deal from.”

While I am fairly certain the Sabres will ask for Alexis Lafreniere, the L.A. Kings are not parting with Quintin Byfield so that’s a non-starter. I also don’t see the Anaheim Ducks parting with Trevor Zegras. As Friedman noted, it will be what the market decides a fair trade is for Jack Eichel.

I’m with his analysis that the market will dictate the package. And if other teams aren’t giving up their highly coveted prospects, you can forget Lafreniere or even Kaapo Kakko for that matter.

If the Sabres say no deal without Alexis, the Rangers should move on a let Buffalo know there are a lot of centers available in a trade that would cost much less.

The NHL Trade Target series continues

Today at DGH we look at Central Division targets.

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