Well, after being up in the air for a while, the trade of the season has finally taken place. The Buffalo Sabres tweeted this morning that they had traded Jack Eichel and a 2023 third-round pick to Vegas for Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, a conditional first-round pick in 2022, and a second-round pick in 2023.
After weeks of speculation and months of the Sabres and Eichel not seeing eye to eye on the type of surgery he should get to repair a serious neck injury, the last few days saw the storyline shift from nothing was happening to the urgency that a deal gets done. Both the Calgary Flames and Golden Knights were rumored to be in on the deal and down to the wire. Vegas crossed the finish line and landed on Thursday morning.
Was the Trade All About the Surgery?
It’s well known that Eichel requires surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. It’s also well known that any surgery would keep him out of action until after the Olympics – in fact, perhaps much after. Both those things were known and accepted. He will immediately get the replacement surgery he wants done now and should be ready to return to the NHL in about four months.
The sticking point was a combination of the kind of surgery involved and the Sabres being firm on their asking price of at least four assets. Eichel and his people wanted artificial disc replacement, something the Sabres would not agree to. They also didn’t want to simply give away one of the best centers in the NHL. Obviously, the Golden Knights obviously have capitulated to that request or were on the same page and they put together an offer the Sabres could accept.
Alex Tuch is on the injured list as well but should return as early as December.
If Eichel Returns to Health and Can Regain His Old Skills, Watch Out for Vegas
The trade, considering Eichel’s health and the unknowns that go along with it, is an interesting one. Eichel was the second overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, right after the great Connor McDavid. When he was healthy and on his game, Eichel was a legitimate top-10 NHL player.
Should Eichel be able to return to the form he’s already shown, he could help lead the Golden Knights into the bright lights of a Stanley Cup victory. There are few first-line centers with as much skill.
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