The Stanley Cup Playoffs may be heating up, but that hasn’t stopped a team that finished last in the regular season from garnering attention.
Trade talks for disgruntled Buffalo star forward Jack Eichel are “getting more intense and serious,” according to The Athletic. The Rangers, Flyers, Kings, Wild, Ducks and Blue Jackets were mentioned as potential suitors for Eichel, although it’s unclear whether any of them are in negotiations with the Sabres.
Things have been dicey between Eichel and Sabres, who drafted him No. 2-overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, for some time. Buffalo has been mired in mediocrity amid front office and lineup turnover since Eichel’s arrival. They came to a head this season as the sides have reportedly feuded over treatment for the herniated disk that ended the 24-year-old’s season on Mar. 7.
“There’s been a bit of a disconnect from the organization a bit and myself. It’s been tough at times,” Eichel said during his exit interview in May. “Right now, I think for me the most important thing is just trying to get healthy and figure out a way to be available to play hockey next year wherever that might be.”
Both sides seem to be exploring where that may be.
“We have a tremendous young core of players that truly care about this team and this organization and this city,” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams told reporters. “We are going to get this right with the people that want to be here.”
Dealing Eichel could prove to be a monumental task, however. He has five years remaining on his $10 million per year contract and his no-move clause kicks in after the 2021-22 season.
The Rangers were believed to be among the most interested teams in Eichel at the NHL’s trade deadline in March. But it’s unclear whether they’ll pursue Eichel after having experienced front-office upheaval of their own this offseason.
Eichel notched two goals and 16 assists in 21 games in 2020-21, totaling 139 goal and 216 assists in 375 total NHL games.
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