Another Turn in the Jack Eichel/Sabres’ Saga

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Last February, I talked about Jack Eichel needing to be saved from his loyalty to the Buffalo Sabres. Given his exit interview from the 2020-21 season, he may be willing his way out of Buffalo. The long and short of it, if you didn’t see it all over the place Monday, the Sabres didn’t like the opinion of an outside doctor about Jack Eichel needing surgery on his neck and didn’t sign off on his procedure.

Just a reminder, June 30th, 2022 is the last day that Eichel doesn’t have a modifier on his contract for teams that may want to try and sway Kevyn Adams into a deal.

Even with the grudges and Eichel stating that he’s looking at next season “wherever that may be,” you can’t think he will be traded unless something really drastic occurs. I would say it’s hard for me to think that the Sabres would really trade their captain and one of their homegrown guys– but it’s the Sabres were talking about. They haven’t shown a track record of making the wise decision when it comes to the product they put on the ice and how they portray the team off of it.

Though they came around when it came to their on-ice performance after the firing of Ralph Krueger, it didn’t make up for the trials and tribulations they had to endure at the start of the season. Maybe Don Granato is the guy that, given a full season, could be the thing that turned Eichel around when it comes to the Sabres actually improving. But, again, when you have your captain upset with the way his health was handled after he seems overly frustrated with how they haven’t seen the playoffs since he’s been with the team– loyalty can only go so far when something like this happens.

Unfortunately, the Seattle Kraken have no assets to give back to the Sabres or else they’d be able to pull off a huge coup in trading for the Buffalo captain and making him their first player in franchise history. But that’s not likely the case. Plus, a $10M cap hit for the next five years in a flat-cap era doesn’t leave many contenders on the board that would make sense in actually picking up Eichel. Of course, if the the right offer comes along for the Sabres and they are better off in the future from the deal– they’ve got until next June to wheel that deal before Eichel has some say in where he wants to be moved, should that time come.

It’s getting worse before it’s getting better. That sucks for Sabres fans, who are beyond loyal regardless of how they are seemingly treated by the organization they love. If they were to trade Eichel, that could be the last straw for the fans who have held on for dear life to this team, despite their faults from the past.

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