NHL Rumors: Blackhawks officially enter Jack Eichel sweepstakes, and Bruins looking for top defenseman

will sabres strip Eichel of captain
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

Add another team to the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Although they’ve been mentioned in rumors before, this is the first “official report” that the Chicago Blackhawks are indeed involved.

Blackhawks after Jack Eichel

In a NY Post exclusive, Larry Brooks is reporting that the Blackhawks have entered trade talks for the Sabres 24 year-old injured center.

For Slapshots has learned that the Blackhawks have taken a ticket at the deli counter in communicating their interest in the 24-year-old center, who is in the midst of divorce proceedings with the Sabres while possibly facing a tricky surgery to repair a herniated disk. In order to succeed in the quest, Chicago’s offer would have to feature Kirby Dach — the 20-year-old center who was drafted third overall in 2019, recorded 23 points (8-15) in his rookie season and then played only 18 games last year after he suffered a wrist injury in a pre-World Juniors tournament game.

NY Post

The article mentions the Ducks as we have noted for a few days, as well as the Blue Jackets, Wild, Flyers, Kings, and possibly still the Rangers. What makes the Hawks intriguing is what is the status of Jonathan Toews who missed all last season with a health issue? If he’s unable to continue his career, then Chicago could fit in Eichel’s $10 million cap hit.

While, I don’t think the Hawks will land Eichel this does raise concern for Toews’ future.

Bruins in the market for top defenseman

boston bruins rumors
Mar 21, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) waits for play to resume against the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Out of the season ending media sessions, Bruins President Cam Neely revealed the team’s desire to go after a top four left defenseman.

“The elusive left D we’ve been looking for who can chew up a lot of minutes, and maybe play on the second pairing with Carlo. That’d be more of a shutdown or some puck movement, some offensive blue line acumen,” Neely said Tuesday during his season-ending media availability.

“As we saw, you can never have enough D and we never seem to have enough. For some reason or another, we get banged up. I think our D this year had maybe eight concussions, which is something I don’t know how to combat. But that position is something that we’ve been looking for, for a while. And hopefully we can do something to grab someone that’s going to help maybe play 20 minutes a game for us.”

NBC Sports

One prominent free agent that fits the bill is Alec Martinez currently with the Vegas Golden Knights. He can be had via free agency, as can Jamie Oleksiak. Or the Bruins can go big and try to trade for Mattias Ekholm.