On his latest ’31 Thoughts’ podcast, Sportsnet reporter extraordinaire Elliotte Friedman confirmed the news that should perk the ears of most Vegas Golden Knights fans and set the NHL trade market on the watch.
Multiple sources have told Friedman that the Golden Knights “are sniffing around” Buffalo Sabres star center Jack Eichel.
That would certainly solve the Vegas Golden Knights’ lack of a top center, wouldn’t it? But you’ll have to be patient as the NHL trade market is waiting on the Seattle Kraken.
“I’ve had a couple of people tell me now (an Eichel trade) won’t happen until after the expansion draft,” Friedman said on the podcast. “I think Vegas is sniffing around Eichel.”
He completed the second part with some emphasis. Here is the full podcast:
“I do think they’re looking at this. I do,” he continued.
The Eichel and Sabres marriage soured this season after yet another losing season in which the Buffalo Sabres were ill-equipped for the season, yet another rebuild appears to be at hand.
Eichel was the second overall selection in 2015, behind only Connor McDavid. He was to be the Sabres savior, but a lack of talent around him and a bad atmosphere in Buffalo has Eichel and more players wanting out.
Young stars reaching maturity, former Sabres first-round draft picks Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen publicly said they would willingly accept a trade rather than go through another rebuilding effort, too.
Eichel has been warring with the Sabres organization this offseason over his neck injury. Eichel wants surgery. Buffalo wants rehab. Reports suggest this battle has been going on since February.
Any team that acquires Eichel may have to wait not only until after the expansion draft on July 21 to consummate the deal but into the regular season to get Eichel on the ice–pending the outcome and timing of his surgery.
Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams told local media that the organization rebuffed Eichel’s request for surgery because the procedure has never before been performed on a hockey player.
That hasn’t deterred Eichel, nor has it deterred suitors.
However, Jimmy Murphy of the National Hockey Now network and quoted one GM in a recent “Off the Record” column (as seen on Vegas Hockey Now) as saying the NHL trade market was slow because the cost for Eichel was “just crazy.”
Some GMs say the cost for Eichel is four or as many as six pieces.
So, if Vegas wants a No. 1 center to combat overly defensive teams and go against Colorado Avalanche rival Nathan MacKinnon, be prepared to pay.