After heating up and then cooling down, the NHL trade chatter surrounding disgruntled Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel picked up again Wednesday. In fact, Wednesday afternoon, one source close to Eichel told Calgary Hockey Now the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft was ‘more confident than he’s been since this all started’ that a trade was close and that Eichel would be a member of a new team by next Monday at the latest.
Wednesday night the NHL trade market became high drama. Sources close to the situation confirmed the pot began to boil.
Sources confirmed to CHN that the Calgary Flames have made Mathew Tkachuk available to the Buffalo Sabres. However, a source close to the situation also included Sean Monahan.
A second source confirmed Monahan, a center, was also available.
Since Vegas Hockey Now and Calgary Hockey Now confirmed the heightened talks last weekend, the NHL trade chatter moved forward. Early Wednesday evening, Calgary lept past the Golden Knights with a significant offer including Tkachuk or Monahan, a first-rounder, a prospect who is a former first-rounder, and two more prospects.
ESPN’s Kevin Weeks confirmed the Flames’ offer Wednesday evening.
For all asking, my understanding is the @NHLFlames have Tkachuk ( who is a future potential captain) an upcoming 1 Rd pick, a former 1st Rd pick, and 2 prospects in the Eichel sweepstakes with the @BuffaloSabres . @espn @NHLNetwork #HockeyTwitter .
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) November 3, 2021
The inevitable Eichel trade which is reportedly at “the one-yard line” could happen very soon. If the Golden Knights cannot surpass this price, Eichel is going to the division rival Calgary Flames.
So what can the Golden Knights offer that could possibly top this trade proposal?
Based on all we’re hearing right now, it means that Flames GM Brad Treliving isn’t about to go quietly into the night and let the Vegas Golden Knights win the Eichel sweepstakes. Now the question is will Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon finally budge on his refusal to include top prospect Peyton Krebbs, whom the Knights drafted 17th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?
“Can’t answer that right now but man Brad’s forcing Kelly’s hand right now eh?” a neutral NHL executive source opined to NHN. “I wonder if Kelly offers up a more established vet. I think Alex Tuch is there, but what about Shea Theodore? That frees up $5.2 mill for the rest of this year and three more.”
Shea Theodore would be the Golden Knight’s best counter to the Flames’ offer. If the Flames are serious about giving up such a skilled player in Tkachuk then the Golden Knights will need to match that with another star roster player.
Last week saw the Golden Knights lock up Zach Whitecloud to a six-year extension and also bring in Ben Hutton from the NHL free agency market. These moves could have been in preparation to lose Theodore.
Peyton Krebs and Brendan Brisson have been names of Golden Knight’s prospects that could be added to the deal. Krebs, who is currently on the NHL roster has struggled at the NHL level this season but still remains a top prospect in the organization. Brisson, who is currently playing with the University of Michigan was the Golden Knights 2020 first-round selection.
With this offer from the Flames, the Golden Knights might have to add both these names into the trade, maybe even more.
Alex Tuch and Reilly Smith have been linked to the Jack Eichel trade chatter as well. This is mostly due to balancing out the salary cap. Smith is a pending UFA and carries a cap hit of $5 million. Tuch, who is currently on LTIR carries a cap hit of $4.75. The Golden Knights could even throw a curveball and add a guy like Jonathan Marchessault or Nick Hauge into the mix.
But one thing is for sure, the Jack Eichel NHL trade rumors have heated up and it is only a matter of time before the star center is finally dealt with. Pressure in on Sabres general manager Kevin Adams.
I hear the Sabres are feeling added external pressure (not grievance related) to get a deal done today.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) November 3, 2021
The back and forth movement between the Flames, Golden Knights, and Sabres has resulted in the price tag for Jack Eichel to dramatically raise. At some point, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon has to ask himself if the price for Eichel is worth it in the end.
If the Golden Knights lose out on Eichel though don’t expect them to stay silent. The team is in desperate need of forwards and could circle back on some under-the-radar names after the Eichel deal has come and passed.
*Hockey Now colleague Jimmy Murphy @murphyslaw74 confirmed the source details for Vegas Hockey Now and contributed to this report.