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Insider Suggests Rangers Likely to Trade Zibanejad as Part of Eichel Deal

Rick Carpiniello suggests the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres could make a trade involving Mika Zibanejad and Jack Eichel.

Reporter for the New York Rangers Rick Carpiniello dropped a big rumor before taking off on a mini vacation from the The Athletic and the NHL on Monday. He wrote, “Just tossing this out there as I head for some vacation time … DO NOT be surprised if Mika Zibanejad is in the deal that ultimately brings Jack Eichel to #NYR.”

Related: Phil Kessel Seeking Trade from Arizona Coyotes [Report]

That’s a huge bombshell to drop before heading off on a vacation and probably the biggest development in Jack Eichel trade talks in recent weeks. While the Rangers were rumored to be among the teams still potentially interested in Eichel, they were unlikely to make a deal unless the Buffalo Sabres were willing to retain salary on the disgruntled Sabres center so the Rangers could fit both Zibanejad and Eichel in under their salary cap.

There are a couple of wrinkles to this theory worth considering. First, this deal only happens if we assume the Rangers value Eichel more than Zibanejad. While it took some time for Zibanejad to explode offensively, he’s a gifted forward with elite level skill and fewer current question marks when it comes to his injury history. Second, Zibanejad has a full no-move clause as part of his contract. He would have to waive that clause to help facilitate a trade to the Sabres.

Mika Zibanejad for Jack Eichel trade rumor New York Rangers Buffalo Sabres

It is possible these two teams aren’t the only ones involved here. Speculation is that Vegas could hop in as a third team and ultimately the club that acquires Zibanejad in the trade. That, however, makes things even more complicated as it’s possible the player becomes a one-year rental and if Vegas is going to give up major assets, they’ll want assurances the Zibanejad is willing to sign an extension at a number they can afford. They aren’t exactly swimming in cap space either.

This feels like a stretch no matter how you play it out on paper. That said, stranger things have happened and many of them in this offseason already.

Next: Gifted G Carter Hart Signs 3-Year Deal w/ Flyers on Heels of Awful Season



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