The New York Rangers and Jack Eichel have been linked to each other for quite awhile. That was only reinforced when one of hockey’s top insiders, Bob McKenzie confirmed they called about him this past offseason. At the time of McKenzie’s report it didn’t sound like anything more than a exploratory call took place but Elliotte Friedman dropped a new information that says otherwise.
New York Rangers made an offer for Jack Eichel last season
In a recent episode of the Lead Off, Elliotte Friedman states that the New York Rangers actually had an offer on the table. “Last year they talked – there was an offer on the table I don’t think it included the #1 pick and I’m sure Buffalo asked,” Friedman revealed. “There was an offer on the table I understand was pretty reasonable.”
During the interview, Friedman noted that for the Sabres to move Eichel it would have to be for a big offer. He stated that due to the Eichel’s current injury issues it “clouds” things, but teams will be interested and he led off specifically with the Rangers. Two other teams he believes could do it are the Ducks and Bruins, but many have already written Boston off as not having the asset or cap space to get it done.
Not many teams will have the will to beat what the Rangers have to offer
One team that many believed would be in it are the L.A. Kings. However, Friedman doesn’t think they are interested in making the move. I spoke with a league source who does not believe the Kings want to add another $10 million player to their roster and part with the big pieces in order to complete the trade
“The team with the best combination of the want and ability to do it is the Rangers, but is Buffalo going to be comfortable sending him there,” Friedman explained. “So part of the issue [for the Sabres] is going to be does anybody have the will to beat what the Rangers have to offer.”
Exactly what could that offer have been? I have it on good authority, especially since it did not include at the time the #1 overall pick or Kaapo Kakko what the package may have been. The “reasonable” offer probably looked something like Vitali Kravtsov, a roster player, a young prospect defenseman (Nils Lundkvist or Braden Schneider excluded), and a first round pick.
What are the Sabres looking for?
While there’s been rampant speculation all over the internet about what the Sabres would be looking for, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports finally provided some insight. On Sportsnet’s Writers Bloc he began by noting that Jack Eichel is very close to ownership and it isn’t a given they will even want to move him. However if they do the price is steep.
“They are not sure if they are going to trade him or not,” Lavoie began. “If they trade him they want four pieces that are first round picks. Or players that are playing if not in the NHL or elsewhere like the NCAA – that were first round picks and are having success and not struggling.”
Here’s the problem with that, no one is going to give up four first round picks for any player not named Connor McDavid. Remember, it’s a negotiation and the seller starts high so this isn’t a surprise. The same source that I spoke with on the possible Rangers package also indicated that no team would be willing to pay that four first rounder price. That’s why the Blueshirts “reasonable” offer could be the best the Sabres get from any team.
If the roster player in the deal was Ryan Strome for example, the package I mentioned would have three first rounders in it. Reasonable indeed and probably hard to beat.
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