The Jack Eichel trade saga has taken over the majority of the NHL offseason, and most fans are just ready for it to be over. However, the Buffalo Sabres and general manager Kevyn Adams have dragged it out for a substantially long period of time, holding out until they get their asking price. While I would usually agree with this and side with the team in terms of players requesting trades, this is not a regular situation.
The main issue here is that the Sabres are refusing Eichel the surgery he wants to get, which is the whole reason he wants to be traded out of Buffalo at an accelerated pace. He has still yet to undergo any sort of surgery for his neck, and as we get closer to the season, his trade value will only continue to dwindle down. The Sabres holding out for the best available offer with loads of top-end prospects and draft picks just is not realistic anymore, as Eichel has made it publicly clear how badly he wants out.
Usually, Eichel would 100% be worth this massive asking price, however as the scenario presents itself, his value has decreased rapidly. He had two goals and 18 points through just 21 games played last season before missing the remaining months with a neck injury. He also had 2.1 expected goals above replacement (xGAR), 0.4 expected wins above replacement (xWAR), and was actually a top defensive forward in the NHL prior to his injury, with 3.0 expected even-strength defensive goals above replacement (xEVD_GAR).
It’s no secret, whatever team manages to acquire the rights of Eichel will be bringing in a top-10 centre in the league instantly, it’s just a matter of who and when. In my personal opinion, I think we will see the New York Rangers emerge victorious in the sweepstakes, even though reports say they are no longer in on him. The fit just seems perfect. However, only time will tell, and the seat only gets hotter for the Sabres as training camp approaches.