Tension has been building between Jack Eichel and the Sabers for some time. And now it looks like the two sides are getting closer to a split.
As detailed by SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman on WGR 550’s The Instigators, it’s not just Eichel who wants to leave the Sabers. Buffalo is also ready to leave Eichel.
“The teams say you have a disgruntled player who doesn’t want to come back,” Friedman said. “The Sabers, I really think at the end of the day, want to move on. They don’t want him to come back, they want to move on. And the teams are going to play desperation in quotes from Buffalo to that. “
Admittedly, it is surprising. It’s one thing to be resigned to having to swap a player, but wanting to pass from Eichel, a 24-year-old center who has scored at least 24 goals in all of his six seasons but one, is surprising.
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Of course, Eichel is struggling with a neck injury that will potentially require surgery. But nonetheless, he’s a top-tier young talent who could flourish with a better supporting cast.
And as Friedman pointed out, there are a lot of teams that seem to have an interest.
“I don’t know how many teams are on Eichel. I think it’s several. I don’t think it’s insignificant,” Friedman said. “There are teams out there doing their due diligence on this.”
So it looks like Buffalo may, at some point, be able to move Eichel. It’s just a matter of when a deal might be done and what the Sabers might get in return. It may depend on whether Sabers general manager Kevin Adams can create a bidding war for Eichel’s services.
“People say that Kevin [Adams] wants to swap it, you have to swap it, ”Friedman said. “Adams has to convince them and tell them not so quickly. That’s what he has to do. He has to create the market. “
If Adams can do it, Eichel could reclaim a king’s ransom from the trade market given his skill level. It might be worth it, as it could turn Buffalo from a private talent squad to a squad full of promising young prospects.
Of course, Eichel’s injury could complicate that.
“What the Sabers are trying to do is say, ‘We have [many] teams interested in Eichel, and we will pit you against each other to try to raise the [trade] value, ”Friedman said. “What the teams say is: ‘Yes, you have other teams [interested], but he’s hurt. We do not know the [recovery] process. ‘ … They also say: “You are not dealing from a position of strength” in negotiations. “
Whatever happens with Eichel, it looks like he’s firmly available in the commercial market. Now it’s just a question of whether a team will give him a big package or whether his injury will lead the buyers to approach any deal with caution.