NHL fans (almost everyone) keeping an eye on the Jack Eichel situation have probably grown frustrated with the fact there’s not been much movement on a potential trade in recent weeks. The two sides (Eichel and the Sabres) seemed steadfast in how they want to approach his injury situation and with every day that passes and with his neck in rougher shape the longer he leaves it unattended, it’s becoming clear that surgery, of some kind, needs to get completed.
There may finally be some good news on that front, and when it comes to a potential trade.
Related: Phil Kessel Trade All But Guaranteed During 2021-22 NHL Season
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, “Sources say the Eichel saga may be shifting.” He explains, “Ongoing discussions and additional access to Jack Eichel’s medical file has helped teams with trade interest clearly see his situation. Both sides are hopeful something can be worked out soon with one of the clubs in the mix.” In other words, because Eichel has been getting his own evaluations done and sharing the results of those evaluations with teams, hockey clubs who might have been interested in trading for him, but otherwise were afraid to invest too much into doing so, are feeling a bit more at ease.
Elliotte Friedman added in his 32 Thoughts article, that while no one will go on record, there is a growing belief that teams are getting more comfortable with Eichel’s preferred disc replacement surgery. It’s the type of surgery the Sabres are refusing, but if another team lets him move forward with it, it simply becomes a matter of recovery time.
If Eichel still needs surgery, it’s safe to assume a non-rebuilding team won’t want to part with current assets to acquire him. They’ll need those assets to push towards the playoffs. That said, if there’s a team out there that doesn’t feel like they have a legit shot at the postseason, but could in the next year or two, he might be an attractive option. He is an elite NHL player and when healthy, an absolute difference-maker.
What Comes Next?
If the reports are accurate that there is at least one or two teams out there ready to make a trade, it’s about getting as close to the Sabres ask as possible. Buffalo has remained firmly planted when it comes to what they want in a deal, but there has to be a little wiggle room for a team to come in and acquire the player so a deal makes sense for both sides.
From there, the team that lands him needs to get him as healthy as possible and as soon as possible. While the team that acquires him still has the power to shoot down his surgery request, it’s hard to imagine why they’d do so. In that case, it would be one team giving up significant assets just to acquire the Sabres stalemate issue.
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