NHL Rumors and Jack Eichel are now officially joined at the hip from here on out. After openly voicing his frustration with the Buffalo Sabres organization yesterday, the buzz a possible trade is now at a fever pitch.
Jack Eichel trade rumors reach fever pitch
To try and make light of what Jack Eichel said would be a disservice to our readers. You can’t say things like, “trying to get healthy and figure out a way to be available to play hockey next year wherever that might be,” and not raise eyebrows. You can’t start talking about what you need to consider in the offseason, and doing what’s best for yourself first and not have everyone reading into it.
Bottom line, Jack Eichel wanted out before this season. The New York Rangers actually made an offer that the Sabres considered but opted against it. And now the situation has reached its boiling point and the two sides can’t continue any longer.
Rangers remain the top destinations for Jack Eichel
There are only a handful of teams that are known to be contenders for Jack Eichel at this point. They are the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Los Angeles Kings. Of the three, the Blueshirts are the clear front-runners to land him in a trade. New York has the cap space, the assets, and most importantly the desire to make a trade for him.
Boston is unlikely to part with the prospects they need to in order to make a deal. They also have Taylor Hall in the fold now. The Kings, contrary to what some write, don’t have enough high end prospects to move the needle in Buffalo. Unless they include Quinton Byfield (which they won’t), there’s no deal there. Plus, I heard the Kings are not looking to add another $10 million player to the roster with Anze Kopitar already there.
The wild card here are the Columbus Blue Jackets. GM Jarmo Kekalainen made it publicly known that they are going to go after a top center this summer. A pairing of Eichel and Patrik Laine will see tickets. They have three first round picks in the upcoming draft and are likely to do whatever it takes to get fans in the seats.
There is a risk.
Jack Eichel’s no trade clause kicks in next season, and he may use that to his advantage to demand a trade to a bigger market or a Cup contender. If Columbus is a middle of the pack team flirting with a playoff spot, it could just be a headache for Kekalainen he’d soon avoid.
What anonymous execs are saying
Pierre LeBrun spoke anonymously with a handful of team executives to garner their perspective on the Jack Eichel situation. One executive stated:
“Not many teams can take on a $10M cap hit but maybe if Buffalo is willing to take a few million back on a contract, they could get a decent haul. Probably a first and then another mid-round pick plus a good young roster player, with some bad money going the other way.”
Another brought up the injury, but still believes the Sabres will get a good return:
His no-move doesn’t kick in until after next season and given his comments, they better get this done sometime soon. Having said that, the injury is concerning as well as his two goals… Has to start with a first-round pick, a player and a prospect I would think but again this is not an easy situation for anyone. When it gets this public leverage gets diminished.
Taking this information into account, the Rangers still stand out as the front-runner to land Eichel in a trade.