Sabres lower asking price on Jack Eichel; does that move the needle for the Rangers?

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Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) takes a shot on goalas New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) and defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) defend in the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres have lowered their asking price on injured superstar, Jack Eichel. I noted that this was the case back on June 28th based on limited but reliable information. At the time, teams that were rumored interested were quickly dropping out of the running, like the Kings and Blue Jackets.

Yesterday, in Elliotte Friedman’s latest podcast he noted the demand has indeed dropped.

Sabres lower Jack Eichel asking price

“I give Buffalo some credit on this. Buffalo has been very good lately on keeping secrets,” Friedman explained of their handling of a Jack Eichel trade. “They are not letting anyone see Eichel’s medical unless you are legit in it.”

Access is only being granted to teams that are making an offer.

“I heard the price on Eichel is high,” Friedman noted. “It’s not as high as it was before but it’s still high. And it’s young. Your best prospects and picks.”

When news initially broke out that Eichel was on the block, the rumored ask was in the form of four first round picks. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports clarified.

“If they trade him they want four pieces that are first round picks,” he said. “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.”

No team in their right mind 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. One team source I spoke with stated that no one is going to give Buffalo what they are asking for Eichel. Who at the time was not injured.

The first crack in the Sabres armor

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The question remains what does lowering mean here? For me, it’s the first sign that the Sabres are acknowledging they can’t get what they want. The movement here is in the right direction for the buyer.

Let’s say it’s now 3 pieces instead of four. That should draw more teams to the table. However, if the Sabres are not willing to eat some of that $10 million cap hit, they aren’t getting that return. Primarily because only a handful of teams can take on the full hit. The Rangers and Ducks being the two teams that standout.

Rumors out of Anaheim say they do not want to part with Trevor Zegras. If that’s the case, the Rangers likely have the best deal. We know Alexis Lafrenière is off limits, however there’s some rumblings Kaapo Kakko could be part of the package. That should ONLY be the case if Buffalo eats some salary, maybe $2 million a year.

A fair deal would be Vitali Kravtsov, Zac Jones, and the #15 pick in the draft. There could even be a conditional 2022 first round pick if Eichel appears in more than 50 games next season.

Does this move the needle for the Rangers?

The bottom line is that the Rangers are one of the teams in the mix. Anaheim is certainly another. Beyond them, maybe the Golden Knights try to figure it out, but they don’t have the assets NY and Anaheim do, and they don’t have cap space.

Buffalo lowering the asking price has certainly moved the needle. Chris Drury and the Rangers will need it to move more.

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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

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