The Buffalo Sabres are going to select first overall at the NHL Draft tonight and that’s the least important thing going on there. GM Kevyn Adams has a trio of players that are on the move in Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Jack Eichel.
Aside from the fact that the price to acquire Jack Eichel remains high, it was also reported that Buffalo is looking for futures in any deal. That means high picks and prospects. Also reported is Buffalo’s desire to have another pick in the top ten of the draft.
Will Jack Eichel get traded today?
The consensus among many insiders and hockey experts was that Eichel will be moved by the Draft or at the start of it. However, there is no indication that there’s any progress in that direction. At this time, there has been no report of a definitive offer and no team is believed to have been given access to Jack’s medical records concerning the herniated disc in his neck.
That could all change with a phone call as they say.
There are two teams believed to be frontrunners in the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild. Another team supposedly very interested has circled back in the Anaheim Ducks. That’s it. Those are the teams we know of at this hour.
The L.A. Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets are reportedly out, if they were ever in at all. And the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights which seemed like long shots to begin with, are no longer mentioned.
Ultimately, handicapping the odds on if Jack Eichel gets traded today are difficult. My gut tells me it will happen in time for the draft.
Latest on the Jack Eichel trade front
The Minnesota Wild were reportedly set to make an offer for Eichel today. Darren Dreger was on WGR550 right before noon and said there was no change there. Plus, the Wild need help to consummate a trade for the 24 year-old center.
They are not likely to give up both Marco Rossi and Matthew Boldy in a trade to gut their future. Plus they will have $12M, $14m, and $14M in dead cap space starting for three years in 2022. Hard to take on a $10 million cap hit for the next five years you would think.
The Anaheim Ducks are in good shape cap wise but are unwilling to part with top prospect Trevor Zegras to facilitate a move. It also appears Jamie Drysdale and the number 3 pick overall is not moving the needle for the Sabres.
Dreger also said today there could be a stealth team. He stressed it as a big IF on a team no one may be expecting in the East. He refused to name the team because he could not confirm, although some believe it to be the Montreal Canadiens.
New York Rangers the likely landing spot?
Which brings us to the New York Rangers. The one team that for the past year plus was the likely destination for Jack Eichel. Elliotte Friedman reported they made a reasonable offer last offseason the Sabres considered but ultimately opted not to do.
Frank Seravalli is hearing that this past week, Chris Drury has been asking teams what it would take to move up into the top 10. New York currently holds the #16 pick, which is really 15th due to Coyotes having to forfeit #11 for a Combine violation. Seravalli firmly believes this is to make a trade for Eichel.
Darren Dreger also talked about the Rangers on WGR550 today. “As far as Jack is concerned, a good Rangers source yesterday thought there was a slim chance it was going to work with the New York Rangers.”
As to why it was considered slim, it had to do with what the Sabres were looking for in the trade. “I had a package thrown at me that included Lundkvist or Schnieder, Kravtsov, Chytil, and a first round pick. I threw that by the Rangers and they basically laughed. It was too much.”
I reported back in March the Rangers would not overpay for Eichel and this continues to be true. Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil, along with a first round pick was relayed to me. At the time, Eichel’s injury had yet to come to light, but they would consider adding in another roster player.
Alexis Lafrenière, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and to a lesser extent Kaapo Kakko were all off limits. Same can be said for Braden Schneider and Nils Lundkvist. Does that mean a deal can’t get done today? No, but if the Sabres don’t reduce the ask I find it hard for the Rangers to make the deal Dreger mentioned.