NHL Rumors: Are the New York Rangers completely out on Jack Eichel?

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Feb 7, 2020; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) shoots at an empty net against New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) and defenseman Adam Fox (23) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to Jack Eichel, the buzz surrounding him these last few days has never been louder. The trade talk has picked up around the 24 year-old center so much that it’s believed a trade could come within days or weeks.

Leading up to this crescendo of noise on possible destinations, the New York Rangers were a prominently heard landing spot. These rumors date back for months. Even anonymous executives went on record saying Eichel would be wearing a Blueshirts sweater when this was all said and done.

Yet now, at this critical time in Jack Eichel trade talks, the Rangers are not even being mentioned.

Where things stand with Jack Eichel now

Over the last two days, three of the top insiders have provided updates on Jack Eichel. TSN’s Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, along with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman are all saying talks have intensified. They are almost singing the same tune as well, that the Sabres would rather trade him out West.

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to teams interested they mention the Blue Jackets, and a Western Canada team which is most likely the Flames. They also don’t believe that the Kings aren’t interested and will circle back. One team that seems to be where Eichel is headed are the Anaheim Ducks.

“I can tell you this, they are talking,” Friedman said on his latest podcast in reference to the Sabres and Ducks. Dreger was on WGR550 today and said he’s comfortable saying Eichel will be traded and it could happen in the next few weeks. He said there are a number of suitors and he mentioned Columbus and Anaheim as well.

What team is no one mentioning anymore? The New York Rangers.

Are the Rangers out on Eichel?

So are the Ranger out on Jack Eichel? It’s hard to say but I’ve been met with radio silence for days on the topic. That could mean a number of things, including Drury working to make a deal for the injured center. Or it could mean that the information I received on May 21st is all that’s left to say on the topic.

Here’s the recap of that report:

Forever Blueshirts has learned that despite all the mentions in the rumor mill connecting the Rangers to Jack Eichel, interest has cooled significantly. As to why things have changed recently, three major factors were pointed out to me.

A) His $10 million dollar cap hit could be easily fit into next season. However, come 2022-23 with Mika Zibanejad up for a new deal it becomes difficult. Also Ryan Strome is a UFA, but it would safe to assume he’d be moved out to make room for Eichel. The real problem comes in the form of RFA’s Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, and Vitali Kravtsov. All should be a higher priority in signing.

B) His neck injury is a serious concern. Obviously that impacts everyone looking to trade for him, but that health uncertainty has backed the Rangers off.

C) The Sabres are still asking for way too much. We know the Blueshirts had a “reasonable offer” last year that was considered but ultimately declined. Now the demands have gone up and despite neck issues have not come down. Buffalo is just not being realistic.

Now could the Rangers have told the Sabres, ‘here’s our offer, if you can get better than more power to you’ – sure. Is there a chance they said, come back to us before you do anything? Yes, that’s possible too. Or what’s most likely is that they’ve moved on and are completely out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.

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