Report: Jack Eichel Plans to Make Final Pitch to Sabres for Surgery on Neck Injury

Doric SamOctober 22, 2021

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 07: Buffalo Sabres Center Jack Eichel (9) skates with the puck during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders on March 7, 2021, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel has a herniated disk in his neck, and he wants to get it fixed as soon as possible.

According to ESPN's Emily Kaplan, Eichel and his camp are pushing the Sabres one last time to allow him to get his preferred surgery. Eichel wants to get a disk replacement surgery, while the Sabres are pushing for Eichel to receive a fusion surgery, as a disk replacement has never been performed on an NHL player.

NHL teams have the final say on how to treat injuries under the league's collective bargaining agreement rules. Eichel reportedly pushed for a trade to a team that would let him have the surgery he prefers before this attempt to convince Sabres management.

According to Kaplan, at least five teams were interested in trading for Eichel last week but Buffalo has not budged from its large asking price. Eichel's medical uncertainty also isn't helping matters.

The No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, Eichel is currently on injured reserve after failing his physical. He signed an eight-year, $80 million deal in 2017, which made him the highest-paid player in franchise history. He was limited to 21 games in the 2020-21 season with the injury.

How the Sabres handle Eichel's request will go a long way in determining their relationship with their star player. Eichel already wasn't happy with the team at the end of last season and he expressed his frustration, saying: "I have a lot of thinking to do in this offseason. There’s a lot that I have to consider."

Kaplan reports that Eichel has been collecting medical opinions that support his preference and his camp hopes to present the information to the Sabres this week. A last-resort option for Eichel would be to file a grievance.     


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