We can all agree that the soap opera that has become the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel would rival some of the great TV classics.
Slap an old soap title and it seems to fit. The Young and the Restless, or how about As the World Turns? Try on General Hospital for size, or One Life to Live. These titles seem to apply in one way or another.
Last week, a new plot twist was introduced and that is the Sabres finally making Eichel’s medicals available to interested teams.
The Jack Eichel Saga
The drama between Eichel and the Sabres is basically a bullet point list of negative events that dates back to last season up until last week.
- Eichel voices frustration over losing after 2019-20 season
- Sabres try to bring in players like Taylor Hall but team still struggles
- Eichel gets injured, seeks second opinion and wants artificial disc replacement
- Sabres field trade calls, ask for at least 4 top future pieces
- No deal can be reached due to ask and unwillingness to release medical info
- Eichel makes trade request public, switches agents
- Sabres strip Eichel of C after he fails medical at camp
- Surgery stalemate continues
- Sabres now make medical info on injury available to interested teams
There has been a lot of talk regarding Eichel, but now that Buffalo is at least empowering teams to review the medical records there appears to be hope.
Regardless, the dispute as to what surgery will be performed is still at a stalemate between Eichel and Buffalo. What most likely will happen is the acquiring team will approve the artificial disc replacement Eichel wants. He may have to sign a waiver taking the team off the hook if the procedure leads to him not playing again. All that is still very much up in the air.
It would also be wise that any deal for Eichel with Buffalo come with conditions. That way if Eichel is unable to play, the acquiring team will not be left holding the bag.
Source: Rangers still the most likely destination
Where will Jack Eichel land if he’s going to be traded this season? It’s a question still being asked by a number of people.
Many teams that were believed in the hunt have moved on from an Eichel trade. Plenty of them were in it before the start of free agency but spent their cap money elsewhere.
So who still makes sense? Vegas was rumored but have no cap space now. Buffalo is demanding futures, but Vegas would need them to take on significant contracts to make Eichel’s $10M AAV fit.
Minnesota was also mentioned in the mix, but they only have $3M in cap space. The signing of Kirill Kaprizov to a $9M AAV deal pretty much takes them out of the picture.
What about Montreal or Boston? They really don’t have the assets the Sabres are looking for or the cap space. So who is left?
Last week, after news broke that Buffalo released Eichel’s medicals I asked around to see what teams were still in it. Although Anaheim seemed like the most logical destination to me, the general thought hasn’t changed that it will still be New York.
One knowledgeable league source, familiar with the Rangers told me that they still make the most sense. The Rangers have $9 million in cap space to play with and can move out salary in other deals to accommodate Eichel’s contract. It’s also been reported by multiple outlets that they made an offer before the start of last season, all the way up until the NHL Draft.
The Rangers also have a plethora of young talented players, but Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko are considered untouchables. Buffalo needs to move on from thinking an injured Eichel that needs surgery is going to fetch team’s top prospects. Same goes for Trevor Zegras in Anaheim, or Quinton Byfield in L.A..
However; maybe the Sabres after seeing Zac Jones up close realize he’s got top 4 potential? Or are impressed by 2021 first round pick Brennan Othmann’s camp? That’s not stating those players are definitely being moved but to provide examples of how deep the Rangers prospect pool is.
At the end of the day, the Rangers have the pieces, cap space, and desire to trade for Eichel. Not sure many other teams do.
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