Jack Eichel Trade Rumors: Talks 'Dead Quiet' for Sabres Star as Free Agency Opens

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 28, 2021

Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Trade talks surrounding Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are "dead quiet," per TSN's Bob McKenzie.

John Vogl of The Athletic relayed McKenzie's remarks.

John Vogl @BuffaloVogl

Bob McKenzie says on TSN that things are "dead quiet" on the Jack Eichel front. He notes that the Kings' additions today make it "safe to assume" they're out.<br><br>Teams, including the Sabres, are dealing with the fact that Eichel talks are "really soft, really quiet."

Eichel had two goals and 16 assists in 21 games during an injury-shortened 2020-21 campaign. Eichel missed more than half the season with a herniated disk in his neck.

The Sabres captain and the team have been at odds on how to treat the injury. Eichel prefers surgery, and he told reporters in May that he feels there's a "disconnect" between him and the team regarding the issue, per the Associated Press.

Per general manager Kevyn Adams (h/t The Athletic), Sabres doctors prefer a "conservative rehab approach."

On July 1, John Wawrow of the Associated Press relayed remarks from Peter Fish, one of Eichel's agents, who provided optimism that the two sides were nearing an agreement on how to handle the injury.

John Wawrow @john_wawrow

Eichel’s agent Peter Fish in text to The Associated Press on discussions with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sabres?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sabres</a> on treating herniated disk:<br><br>“We are communicating with the team and are heading towards a resolution.”

That's a notable factor in regard to any potential trade.

The same goes for Eichel's contract, with five years remaining on the eight-year,  $80 million extension. Eichel will be a free agent after the 2025-26 season.

There's no denying Eichel's incredible talent, however.

The No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL draft put together a 36-goal, 42-assist campaign over 68 games in 2019-20.

He's been nothing short of productive when healthy and could be a building block for a contending franchise.

However, the Sabres have not made the playoffs since 2011 and bottomed out this past season, finishing with a league-worst 37 points. Buffalo may be best suited to finding a taker for Eichel and starting another massive rebuild.

That taker doesn't appear to be the Minnesota Wild. Per Michael Russo of The Athletic, the team backed out of trade talks.

There is clear interest in Eichel, though. Darren Dreger of TSN reported Friday that the New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings were "potential fits." Dreger also wrote that the Montreal Canadiens "could be in the mix."

Eichel's agents, Fish and Peter Donatelli, expect a deal to happen soon.

"Our expectation is that Jack is going to be traded in the near future, and all of our discussions have been centered around that issue," they told Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman on Sunday (h/t Jared Greenspan of the New York Post).

The 24-year-old Eichel has posted 139 goals and 216 assists during his six-year career.


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