Jack Eichel: “I want to be ready for next season, wherever that might be”

jack eichel trade
Jan 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Victor Olofsson (68) celebrates his goal with center Jack Eichel (9) and center Sam Reinhart (23) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel addressed the media today as the Buffalo Sabres are conducting exit meetings. The most anticipated speaker of the day took the mic to discuss the season, his injury, and a whole lot more.

Jack Eichel raises eyebrows with injury comments

Back on April 15th, GM Kevyn Adams provided an update on Jack Eichel. He said they saw some improvement with rehab but not enough to come back to play at that time. The decision to shut him down was made by the Sabres and Jack Eichel’s camp. They also stated Eichel was looking to avoid surgery by continuing to rehab his neck. The two sides were to meet again in May to review progress and determine if he surgery was required.

Today, Eichel said he was upset with the way the Sabres handled it and is most definitely looking at surgery to get this fixed. “I’ve been a bit upset about the ways things have been handled since I’ve been hurt. There’s been a bit of a disconnect between myself and the organization,” he explained.

Then Eichel dropped the bomb quote of the day: “The most important thing now is to get healthy and be ready to play hockey next year, wherever that might be.”

Update: More on Eichel’s injury comments.

Jack Eichel dodges trade request question

jack Eichel trade
Mar 6, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) reacts during the third period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“Wherever that might be” is sure to get every hockey writer hitting his or her laptop to get the story out.

Eichel also claimed that he’s frustrated, which is an ongoing theme in Buffalo, not just for him but others. Sam Reinhart eluded to wanting a change of scenery as well. “I have a lot of thinking to do,” Eichel began. “But for now, I’m here.”

When asked if he requested a trade, he dodged it entirely. That was followed up about trade rumors to which he responded, “You guys have to write about something, don’t you?”

New York Rangers and Jack Eichel

This is the one trade rumor in the NHL that will not die down or go away. Jack Eichel and the Rangers almost feels like preordained destiny. Even Johnny Gaudreau and the Flyers settled down after awhile.

If you try to surmise everything that Jame Dolan said in the wake of the dismissals of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton, his patience has run out and he wants a winner now. When the news broke, I had a feeling one of the reasons why a change was made had to do with the failure to land Jack Eichel before the season.

Remember, Elliotte Friedman noted that the Rangers had a “reasonable offer” that obviously wasn’t good enough. That was probably a major factor in Dolan’s decisioning. Now those Jack Eichel talks are back with Friedman noting that the plan even before the change was to make another pitch. With Chris Drury at the helm, it sounds like it will be more aggressive.

“They were in on Eichel before this,” Friedman began. “It’s not like they were afraid to go after Eichel, they made the Sabres an offer on Eichel in the offseason. It’s one that at least made the Sabres think before deciding they weren’t ready to make the move yet. I don’t think Chris Drury will be any more or less inclined to make a move for Eichel as the organization is already prepared to do that.”