NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential Jack Eichel Trade, Alec Martinez, More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJuly 27, 2021

NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential Jack Eichel Trade, Alec Martinez, More

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    The NHL offseason has already been plenty eventful. Both the Seattle Kraken expansion draft and the 2021 NHL draft have taken place, while numerous big trades have shaken up the landscape of the league.

    There's still plenty more to come, though. Free agency begins Wednesday at noon ET, so teams will start to negotiate with the top players available on the market. And while some may return to their former teams, others could join new ones ahead of the 2021-22 season.

    Here's some of the latest offseason buzz from around the NHL.

Sabres Aiming to Trade Eichel West?

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    If the Buffalo Sabres are going to move Jack Eichel, it's possible they're going to trade him far away from upstate New York.

    According to The Athletic's Rick Carpiniello, Sabres owner Terry Pegula would prefer to deal the center to a Western Conference team. There have been numerous reports that Buffalo has a high price for the 24-year-old (as to be expected), and perhaps that would be even higher for an Eastern Conference team.

    For the 2021-22 season, the NHL will return to having traditional conferences. Still, Buffalo would not have to play against Eichel as much if he was playing in the Western Conference.

    It appears that the Sabres had trade discussions regarding Eichel this past weekend. His agents, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli, told Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman that their expectation is he is "going to be traded in the near future."

    Eichel has spent the first six years of his NHL career in Buffalo, which selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. However, he was limited to 21 games last season due to a neck injury that he's still in the process of recovering from.

Golden Knights Closing in on Extension for Martinez

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    The Vegas Golden Knights have only three players set to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday. And at least one of them appears to be returning to the team without hitting the market.

    Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported on Monday that defenseman Alec Martinez is "closing in on an extension" with the Golden Knights. The 34-year-old is expected to be signing a three-year deal worth about $5 million or "perhaps a little more," per Seravalli.

    Martinez is a 12-year NHL veteran, but he's spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded to the Golden Knights in February 2020, and he's played 63 games for them since then. This past season, he had nine goals and 23 assists in 53 games.

    Vegas' other two UFAs are centers Mattias Janmark and Tomas Nosek. According to The Athletic's Jesse Granger, "all signs point toward" those two players exploring the option of re-signing with the Golden Knights.

Could Oilers Trade Koskinen?

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    Nick Didlick/Associated Press

    Since returning to the NHL in 2018, Mikko Koskinen has played for the Edmonton Oilers. There's still one year remaining on his contract, but it's also possible the goaltender won't be back with the team for the 2021-22 season.

    According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, Oilers general manager Ken Holland has "investigated a trade" for the 33-year-old, who is set to make $4.5 million next season. Matheson noted that Edmonton would likely try to get a team to eat some of that salary in a potential deal.

    However, it's also possible that Koskinen won't get traded. Matheson reported that the goalie's "buyout/trade/bring-back situation remains very fluid." So the Oilers have several different options to consider.

    The Finn has been a solid goaltender for Edmonton, but his numbers regressed a bit during the 2020-21 season. In 26 games, he had an .899 save percentage and a 3.17 goals against average.