New York Rangers can’t fall for Buffalo Sabres bluff in poker game for Jack Eichel

nhl rumors eichel
Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) warms up before a game against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres are trying to create a trade market for disgruntled center Jack Eichel. That’s exactly what’s been going on for several weeks now as rumors about interest in the 24 year-old center are likely emanating out of Buffalo in order to draw interest.

It’s a game of poker and Kevyn Adams may be the one bluffing

“It’s a negotiation,” Friedman tried to explain on WGR550 in Buffalo. “What the Sabres are trying to do is say ‘we’ve got eight teams interested in Eichel’, I’m, just throwing a number out there, and they are trying to pit these teams against each other.” He went on to say that these “teams” are basically not buying it. “I think Kevyn Adams is being told you got trade him,” he concluded. “But he has to create the market place.”

I have to wonder it Friedman’s use of the word “teams” isn’t really just one – the New York Rangers.

“They also say you guys are not exactly dealing from a position of strength here,” Friedman continued. “It’s a big poker game.” Then the hosts said, “well the Sabres don’t have to trade him”, but Friedman responded, “Well, yes and no. The Sabres at the end of the day don’t want him back and want to move on.”

Friedman wrapped up his discussion on Eichel by admitting he doesn’t know how many teams are in on Eichel. ” I think it’s several. I will tell you I’ve had teams reach out to me about my article on his injury and if there’s anything I know that I didn’t put in there. So there are teams out there doing their due diligence.”

Due diligence is one thing, making an offer is another. So far only one team has done so and the Rangers aren’t going to fall for Buffalo’s bluff.

Rangers and Kings interest in Jack Eichel cooled

sabres jack eichel
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The two teams that have been often rumored to be “interested” in Eichel are the New York Rangers and L.A. Kings. Recently, John Hoven noted that it appears whatever interest GM Rob Blake had may be gone.

In talking with several sources around the organization over the past few weeks, there just doesn’t appear to be much interest in Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel. You can point to any number of different reasons why — the neck injury and the big contract (five more years at a $10M AAV, including four years of a No Movement Clause) certainly come up often — yet, in the end, it’s the acquisition cost than most likely kills any deal for the 24-year-old center. The Kings aren’t looking to trade Quinton Byfield, period.

John Hoven

Back in May, a team source told me that the Rangers interest in Eichel had also cooled. As to why? Similar factors were pointed out to me. They included contract, injury concerns, and asking price. We know the Blueshirts had a “reasonable offer” last year before the season started that the Sabres considered but ultimately declined.

That really makes the Rangers the only known team to be in it. On the heels of these reports, I also learned that the Kings never were in on him in the first place. This reaffirmed an earlier report I had on March 21st that L.A. was not interested in adding another $10 million player to their roster.

Sabres trying to create a market for Eichel

Elliotte Friedman was also asked about the latest on the Jack Eichel situation to which he noted that teams are at least asking about where he is with his neck injury. According to Friedman, some would be okay with him having the disc replacement procedure, but time to do it and be ready for training camp is dwindling.

“How many teams have you heard of behind the scenes are showing real interest in trading for Eichel,” host Andrew Peters asked Friedman. “I think there’s a few,” he responded with a hint of uncertainty. This only reinforced what I believe is mostly buzz being generated out of Buffalo to drum up more interest.

When I spoke with a team executive yesterday about the Kings dropping out it, the response was oddly, “do we know if anyone was ever in the running?” Which gets back to my point that aside from the Rangers known offer, has anyone else had any substantial discussions about Eichel?

That’s why the Rangers have to hold their cards firm. When you are playing in the World Series of Poker and the flop is a 2 of Clubs, 7 of Hearts, and Queen of Diamonds, but you are holding pocket Kings, you’re in control. The bluffer is usually the one trying to raise the pot hoping others will fold and win the hand. Drury has likely already read the table and knows that Buffalo could be drawing dead or hoping to catch a card on the river.

He can’t fall for it. If the Rangers are still interested in Jack Eichel, and I think they are – he just needs to play this one till the end and bring in the prize.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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