Buffalo Sabers run out of time to maximize Jack Eichel return

The offseason has been busy for Buffalo Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams so far, and now isn’t quite the time for him to take off his shoes and enjoy the summer for the instant. Adams still has one major task hanging over his head this offseason: finding a suitor who would trade for Sabers captain Jack Eichel. Trade rumors surrounding Eichel started as early as mid-March this season, but escalated after the regular season when he pointed to a “disconnect” between him and team management. It now seems inevitable that he’ll be on another team next season, but Adams has to pull the trigger and trade him first. The asking price for him is steep, however, as Adams seeks the equivalent of four first-round picks in a return package.

Adams doesn’t budge on asking price for Eichel

The equivalent of four first-round picks could be anything, whether they’re established young players, Level A prospects, or true first-round draft picks in the next two NHL drafts. . But there aren’t many teams with the roster pieces and draft capital available to make that kind of offer to the Sabers, even if the player they get in return is Eichel. Adams seems to stick to his guns when it comes to what he wants to get back the other way, but it could push teams out of the business conversation.

“What is extremely important to make sure it is clear is that we are in control of this process,” Adams said in a recent press release. “We have a player under contract. We don’t feel any pressure. If there’s a deal that we think is the right thing for the Buffalo Sabers, it’s going to help us get better – whether it’s an immediate improvement or an improvement on the road, that’s all things. [to] weigh – we would be open to that. (From ‘Sabers GM’ feels no pressure ‘to trade Jack Eichel despite what appears to be a dying market’ Athleticism, 07/29/2021)

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Minnesota Wild, for example, reportedly took the idea of ​​running an Eichel trade seriously, to the point of writing a trade script on a whiteboard in his draft room. Eventually, however, they got fed up when Adams didn’t want to budge on his asking price, not even a little, so they backed off. It’s one thing to try and wait to hear the best deal, but now that most of the teams are done moving for the summer after being active in free agency, Eichel’s business value could actually. decrease, not increase. Nonetheless, Adams has made it clear that he still believes the Sabers have the advantage in this situation, and rushing Eichel out the door will not help the team in any way.

“We’re not in a position where we think we’re just going to do something to do it. It does not mean anything.

Eichel’s agents slam sabers

With each passing day, the Sabers’ leverage seems to be diminishing and Eichel’s business value seems to be diminishing. And as new details emerge of Eichel’s strained relationship with the Sabers’ management, other teams can sit down and hope Adams could lower his expectations for a potential return. Some of those details include the Sabers allegedly refusing to share Eichel’s medical information with the front office and medics on other teams, and more recently his agents have explicitly said he should have been traded already. .

In a statement released late at night on the first day of free agency last week, Eichel agents Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli said, “As previously reported, we have fully anticipated an exchange by the start of the free agency period of the NHL. . . After the agreed and prescribed period for conservative rehabilitation had expired in early June 2021, Sabers medical staff determined that a surgical process was required. “(From the agents of” Sabers “Jack Eichel in surgery, exchange:” The process does not work ” Athleticism, 07/31/2021)

Fish and Donatelli said they repeatedly asked the Sabers on Eichel’s behalf to undergo the surgery he wanted, to no avail. Based on the recommendation of his independent neurosurgeon, as well as other spine specialists, he feels more comfortable undergoing “artificial disc replacement” surgery, an operation that no NHL player does. has never suffered before and that the Sabers refuse to let him suffer.

This is an extremely difficult and unique situation that any team and player would have disagreement over, let alone a player of Eichel’s caliber, and during a controversial time where his GM is trying to make it work. a successful business. The uncertainty surrounding his medical situation is undoubtedly preventing some teams from making offers, and if it is still not resolved, it could potentially be taken to the NHL and the NHL Players Association for resolution.

Terry Pegula wants Eichel traded on the West Coast

One factor that could complicate the trade process for Adams is the practical style of the Sabers’ ownership, particularly a condition by Terry Pegula that Eichel is traded to a Western Conference team. This already limits the number of potential business partners to 16, and there could be only two or three that could realistically be successful. Athleticism Rick Carpiniello was the first to report the condition, with Sabers reporter John Vogl confirming it.

Buffalo Terry and Kim Pegula Sabers
Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Sabers and Bills (AP Photo / Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

The Pegulas have never been shy about giving their opinion on hockey-related matters, and even recently Terry has reportedly requested game footage of the top prospects in the 2021 Draft so he can be briefed on what the rest of the frontline is. office of the Sabers was watching. and reflection on approaching the project. When it comes to a trade with Eichel, I believe Adams should have full permission to perform the best trade possible, according to him and his hockey associates. And if it’s with an Eastern Conference team, hopefully that’s because that was the best deal available, and he shouldn’t turn it down.

The Sabers are still looking for a perfect return package

“We continue to have a lot of conversations with the teams,” Adams said at his last press conference with the media. According to him, there is still a strong commercial market for Eichel and there are still several potential landing points for the Sabers captain. Adams said he had time and there was no rush to make a trade if he felt the comeback wasn’t good and didn’t put the Sabers on track to rebuild from the right way. The last thing everyone wants to see happen is for the trade window to close and Eichel to show his frustrations on the ice in a Sabers jersey next season or be suspended for not showing up to the training camp. These potential outcomes create the sense of urgency we all feel.

I think Adams has good reason to expect a remarkable comeback for his star player, but I also think he’s running out of time. The perfect package isn’t going to appear out of the blue, and let’s face it: nine times out of 10, the team that trades Eichel is going to lose the trade. The key is to make sure that the best parts available come back to try and alleviate the pain of that fact. The Sabers look set to set the NHL record for the longest playoff drought next season if they miss for the 11th straight season, but Adams is focused on the future, and the plays and draft picks he needs. ‘he acquired this offseason will determine which direction the Sabers begin to move in.

Comments are closed.