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NHL Trade Rumors: Examining Latest 2021 Offseason Reports

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2021

FILE - Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) is shown during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Buffalo, N.Y., in this Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, file photo. The Buffalo Sabres have ruled out captain Jack Eichel for the rest of the season because of a neck injury. The team said Wednesday, April 14, 2021, that Eichel has a herniated disk and is expected to be healthy for the start of next season. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

The 2021 NHL offseason continues to unfold, though the early flood of activity has ended. It's now been three weeks since the start of free agency, and most of the big names are off of the free-agent and trade markets.

This doesn't mean that some deals aren't on the horizon, though. The Buffalo Sabres are still looking to move center Jack Eichel, and New York Rangers fans are eager to see their team acquire him.

Blueshirts Breakaway, a notable Rangers podcast, recently purchased a billboard urging the Sabres to move Eichel:

Ryan Mead @OhRyanMead

Buffalo, The time has come. Starting today for the next two weeks in honor of our 300th episode: Blueshirts Breakaway has purchased a billboard on I-190 next to the Buffalo Sabres KeyBank Arena demanding an Eichel trade. We all want this Jack Eichel saga to end. #FreeJack https://t.co/RNVQToorFK

The "pain in the neck" portion of the advert is a riff on Eichel's neck injury, which kept him sidelined for much of the past season and has his future a bit uncertain. The issue was also the impetus behind his trade request.

"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.

There hasn't been much of anything recently when it comes to Buffalo's willingness to move Eichel. Vince Z. Mercogliano of Sports Illustrated reported in late July that "it appears [the Sabres are] working to squeeze other teams."

Mercogliano also noted that he doesn't believe Rangers general manager Chris Drury will blink in a potential game of trade chicken.

However, another franchise could be in on Eichel. According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Ottawa Senators are looking to acquire either a top-six winger or a center, and Eichel could be a possible target.

"The Senators kicked the tires on Buffalo Sabres centre Jack Eichel but the asking price is high and the contract would make it restrictive to make other moves," Garrioch wrote.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Eichel's health and the fact that Buffalo isn't going to accept a bargain-basement offer, it feels unlikely that Ottawa would hamstring itself with an Eichel trade. However, trading for a less expensive veteran could well be on the table.

Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak probably isn't going to be one of those cheaper options, though he is "generating some interest" on the trade market, according to The Athletic's Hailey Salvian.

As Salvian noted, though, he isn't likely to come cheap:

"The Coyotes aren't necessarily shopping Dvorak, but rather listening to pitches. The asking price is expected to be high. Think in the range of the Darcy Kuemper return from Colorado: a prospect and a first-round pick, or two prospects. And if [GM Bill] Armstrong can't get what he wants, why would he trade a 25-year-old under a good contract? (Hint: he won’t.)"

Dvorak could still be on the move, of course, but the Coyotes aren't going to move him for peanuts. He appeared in five games this past season and scored 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists). He won't turn 26 until February and is under contract through the 2024-25 season.

Unless Arizona gets blown away by a trade offer, Dvorak is probably staying up for the foreseeable future.

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