Five teams reportedly 'still in on' trade for Sabres' Jack Eichel
It appeared as though there was some momentum toward a Jack Eichel trade a week ago, but things have gone quiet once again on one of the biggest stories in the NHL. With the season underway, there is no lack of headlines and narratives to take the attention of hockey fans across the league, but every one of them is still keeping one eye on the Buffalo Sabres and their malcontent star. On Thursday, Emily Kaplan on ESPN’s "The Point" explained the current situation with regard to Eichel:
"Where we stand now is there are five teams still in on Jack Eichel, and those are teams that believe they can fit his they can fit his $10M salary into their cap situation. Maybe that means moving some contracts or whatever. All of those teams, though, have agreed Jack Eichel will get the disk replacement surgery that he wants."
If there is a trade in the near future, Eichel still faces a major neck surgery that will keep him out of the NHL for several months. That makes it extremely difficult for any contender to acquire the Sabres' former captain, but it's easier to swallow if it’s soon enough that he could potentially return for the end of the season. The one thing to consider when it comes to cap situations is that Eichel’s contract will be able to be moved to long-term injured reserve, but if he’s back before the playoffs, the team would need to have the applicable room to activate him.
There’s also the factor of Buffalo’s cap, which will need money coming back the other way to stay above the lower limit. Sending money the other way seems likely for any team acquiring a long-term $10M cap hit, but it still makes things more complicated.
Interestingly in these cases, a quiet period often shows up as the talks get more serious and the teams involved don’t want any leaking information to spoil the negotiation. It’s not clear if that’s the case with Eichel, but with five teams still interested and willing to greenlight his preferred surgery, it seems like a resolution of some sort is still possible in the near future.