Jack Eichel has been on the trade block for what seems like forever and has not been on the ice for the Buffalo Sabres this preseason as he continues to await neck surgery. Yet, his market is heating back up. As TSN’s Darren Dreger wrote earlier this week, the Sabres have been pushed by Eichel’s new agent, Pat Brisson, to share medical files with interested parties. The result has been more clarity as to Eichel’s serious suitors, which could finally lead to a trade.
Eichel’s desired surgical cure, which has been at the center of his ongoing feud with the Sabres, is a disc replacement surgery that has never been attempted on an NHL player. By sharing the specifics of Eichel’s injury, teams can gain more insight into the nature of Eichel’s condition and whether they would agree to his preferred route rather than the typical fusion procedure. As Pierre LeBrun reports for The Athletic, this has helped Kevyn Adams and the Sabres strengthen their trade pitch, as some of the unknowns of an Eichel deal have been cleared up. While LeBrun believes that there will still be a conditional aspect to any deal, Buffalo now finally has a chance to finally close a deal and closer to full value.
Among the teams that LeBrun feels have backed off of the Eichel pursuit are the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia, and even the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings who seemed like top contenders at one point. However, LeBrun notes that the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have done their due diligence on Eichel’s condition and the ADR surgery and remain interested in the star center.
Though the cost for Eichel remains a mystery, especially with the suspected conditional component, there will still be a considerable price to pay. Anaheim offers a number of young roster forwards, as well as numerous talented prospects. Calgary offers more current star talent, some of whom would have to move for cap purposes, as well as some top prospects. Both teams would be able to make a strong pitch for Eichel and have good reason for doing so. The Flames may be one major piece away from jumping into Stanley Cup contention, while the Ducks have a budding young core and know that Eichel has expressed some desire to play on the west coast.
While LeBrun stops short of saying a trade is imminent, this is first time that concrete conversations have been had with a media source confirming that Eichel talks are occurring. Eichel needed surgery “like yesterday” per LeBrun and both he and the Sabres desperately need to move on, so for the good of all involved, including NHL fans, hopefully this situation will be resolved before too long.