NHL Rumors: Latest on Jack Eichel Trade Market, Nick Ritchie and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

NHL Rumors: Latest on Jack Eichel Trade Market, Nick Ritchie and More

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    As NHL free agency continues to unfold, Jack Eichel's situation with the Buffalo Sabres remains one of the more intriguing storylines.

    Theoretically, the three-time All-Star should be one of the more attractive trade targets for teams looking outside of free agency. However, asking price and concerns over his health have prevented a deal to this point. Eichel has been dealing with a herniated disk in his neck and has advocated for disc replacement surgery. The Sabres don't agree with that plan, which has created a disconnect between player and organization.

    "A further point of concern is that our camp was initially under the impression that the Sabres specialist was in agreement with the Artificial Disc Replacement surgery until that was no longer the case," Eichel's agents, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli, said in a statement, per Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News.

    Fish and Donatelli also noted that they had expected their client to have been traded by the start of free agency. Let's dig into the latest on Eichel's trade market and other NHL buzz.

Jack Eichel

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    The Sabres are willing to move Eichel for what they consider to be the right price, but given his health concerns, teams aren't keen on meeting it.

    The Minnesota Wild, for example, were in on Eichel, but that is no longer the case, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo.

    "At least temporarily the Wild have backed out of Jack Eichel trade talks, sources say, because they're fed up with the asking price from the Buffalo Sabres for the $10 million star with a neck injury," Russo wrote.

    Russo reported recently that Buffalo is asking for "at least four future assets the equivalent of first-round picks."

    The New York Rangers appear to still be interested in Eichel. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers' offer does not include Filip Chytil, who was recently signed to a two-year deal:

    "There is a strong sense that Chytil would necessarily be included in a package going the other way in a hypothetical deal for Eichel, because the Sabres need a center in return and all that. But one individual with some knowledge of the proceedings told The Post on Thursday that the latest entreaty includes Vitali Kravtsov, Zac Jones, Alexandar Georgiev and a first-rounder, but not Chytil."

    The Rangers, it seems, are interested in getting a longer look at Chytil's upside before dealing him. We can only wait to see whether their current offer will convince the Sabres to trade their captain.

Nick Ritchie

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    While Eichel is awaiting a new home, former Boston Bruins forward Nick Ritchie appears to have found his. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the 25-year-old will be heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    "Hearing Nick Ritchie to TOR. Sounds like 2x$2.5M," Friedman tweeted.

    Two years at $2.5 million per seems like a fair price for Ritchie, who appeared in 56 games this past season and produced 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists).

    Ritchie, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, was selected by the Anaheim Ducks. He was traded to Boston in 2020 at the deadline for right winger Danton Heinen.

    During the 2018-19 season, Ritchie produced a career-high 31 points with the Ducks (nine goals, 22 assists).

Vladimir Tarasenko

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    As is the case with Eichel, St. Louis Blues right winger Vladimir Tarasenko is on the trading block but has not been moved. Asking price seems to be a sticking point in his market too.

    According to Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic, general manager Doug Armstrong is asking too much in return, and the market for Tarasenko is dwindling as a result.

    "The Blues are only further diminishing his value by hanging on to him this long," Rutherford wrote. "... The source said Armstrong has miscalculated the situation, asking for 'too much' in return. There were once four teams interested in Tarasenko, and there are still at least two, but the options are dwindling after Wednesday's signings around the league."

    According to Andrew Gross of Newsday, the New York Islanders may be interested in Tarasenko—though it's unclear if an offer is on the table.

    "It's likely [general manager Lou] Lamoriello is still investigating the cost of acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko if the Blues opt to grant the disgruntled sharpshooter's wish to be traded," Gross wrote.

    According to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford, "The Isles were on Tarasenko's original trade list, and sources have said that he would accept a move there."

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