May 29, 2020

Jack Eichel voices frustration, how much more can he take in Buffalo

Zibanejad and Eichel battle (Getty Images)

When you play word association with a knowledgeable hockey fan and ask for a word to describe Jack Eichel, they’ll reply with accolades like “superstar”, “phenom”, or “goal-scorer”. Now ask that same person to do that for the Buffalo Sabres and you will get words like “dysfunctional”, “abysmal”, and just plain “bad”. Jack Eichel finally voiced his frustration about losing and he didn’t hold back.

“Listen, I’m fed up with the losing and I’m fed up and I’m frustrated. You know, it’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. It’s been a tough couple of months. It’s been a tough five years with where things have [gone],” Eichel said on a conference call Thursday. “I’m a competitor. I want to win every time I’m on the ice. I want to win a Stanley Cup every time I start a season.”

ESPN

So how much more can Jack Eichel take? How soon before he feels a he needs a change and asks to be traded? If that were to happen, Jeff Gorton would undoubtedly make a move for the 23 year old star center.

Eichel Only Getting Better

Jack Eichel signed an 8 year deal for $80,000,000 in 2018. He’s rewarded the Sabres with 160 points in 145 games since he inked the contract including 64 goals. For his young career he has 337 points in 354 games. Unfortunately for him the Sabres haven’t made the playoffs for 5 straight seasons. Matter of fact, the only thing Eichel has experienced are 2 coaching changes already. Not exactly the definition of stability in Buffalo.

Eichel on Lundqvist 2016 (Getty Images)

So what happens if next season, Jack Eichel is on his 40 goal and 90 point pace but no playoffs are in sight? Will that be the tipping point for him or will it take a few more seasons? For the record, TSN and Darren Dreger have talked about that exact possibility this season, but the Sabres are not going to just trade him, even if he asks. However, I’ve watched enough sports to never say never. Remember if Wayne Gretzky can get traded, anyone can.

Here is one very important thing to note about Eichel’s contract, he has a No Movement Clause that will kick in 2022-23. That means if the Sabres want to trade him for max value, they will need to do it next season.

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Broadway Jack

So let’s look into that magical crystal ball and look through the mist. There! I see it. Bob McKenzie tweets out Jack Eichel has demanded a trade. Wait! I see Jeff Gorton picking up the phone. He’s making an offer. What will it take? You don’t need a crystal ball for that…a damn boatload.

In order to get a player of Jack’s pedigree you will need to give up roster players and salary. Remember, you need to fit his $10M AAV in your cap and that won’t be easy. We also have to make a lot of assumptions this early including not having the big contracts of Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal on the books.

The first thing to do is list what players are untouchable and that’s easy. Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider, Kakko, Fox, Trouba, Lundkvist, Miller, Shesterkin are the untouchables. It will take several players to get Eichel and it would be combinations like:

DeAngelo, Chytil, and Georgiev
or
Buchnevich, Lindgren and Georgiev

That may sound like too much for some, but is likely not enough in reality. Of course, that is the keyword to this entire article…reality. Right now there is no real world scenario that makes this a viable conversation. Still, the whole reason for this article is that we don’t know what the future holds for Jack Eichel and the Sabres.

Jack Eichel on Broadway centering Artemi Panarin? Well, one can dream and maybe next trade deadline I’ll turn this speculation into legit rumor reporting. You know why? Because if Wayne Gretzky can be traded…

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