We’ve reached another week and a brand new addition of NHL Rumors Roundup! Recently, two names have dominated the rumor mill in Sabres’ Jack Eichel and the Rangers’ Vitali Kravtsov.
It’s been a whirlwind for Eichel in the last two weeks, but it sounds like we’ve reached another tipping point. As the 24 year-old center continues to gather medical evidence in support of his artificial disc replacement, a grievance could be filed soon.
NHL Rumors Roundup: Jack Eichel grievance
Eichel, the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft last played a game on March 7th, against the Islanders. He was injured in that contest and later diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck.
The saga has been drawn out for quite some time. Whispers of him wanting out of Buffalo actually started at the end of the 2019-20 season but it reached a fever pitch after the injury.
According to Elliotte Friedman, Eichel will likely be filing a grievance this week against the Sabres.
“I think we are getting to the point where the grievance could come down to force a kind of move,” he said on Saturday’s 32 Thoughts segment. “I think that sometime in the next week, two weeks max, the sense I’m getting is if there’s not a trade or an agreement between the Sabres and the Eichels on his medical path, I think you’re going to see Eichel file a grievance to see if he can move things along.”
In fairness to Eichel, I think he’s played nice long enough. This is not a situation where he’s sitting out to force a trade. He was injured in a game and has been trying to get a surgery that has better longterm benefits to his health. The Sabres, refuse to let him have it because no NHL player to date has done it.
The artificial disc replacement was performed on Peyton Manning in the NFL, who won a Super Bowl after doing so.
Top destinations for Eichel are the Ducks, Golden Knights, and Flames.
Rangers want a top prospect for Vitali Kravtsov
Another mini-saga was born when Vitali Kravtsov refused the Rangers assignment and bolted back home to Russia. He is currently sitting and waiting for a trade.
Since this began, the rumored ask for Kravtsov was a top 9 forward. According to Jeff Marek it appears GM Chris Drury wants another top prospect back.
“I called around to find out what general manager Chris Drury could be looking for in a trade for this player, and what I got back was a top prospect,” he said. “He’s is not budging from that right now.”
Kravtsov, 21, will have his ELC expire this summer. The Rangers for all intents and purposes own his rights until he’s 27 years-old. I doubt this will reach that point, but Chris Drury holds all the cards here. Matter of fact, Kravtsov’s only play to force a trade was to sit out.
My thought is this will last all season and he’ll be traded at the 2022 Draft for a second round pick as I originally reported.
Coyotes Barrett Hayton a hot commodity
The Arizona Coyotes are getting calls on 21 year-old forward Barrett Hayton. He was selected 5th overall in the 2018 Draft and has amassed 7 points in 34 NHL contests over the last two seasons.
“The Arizona Coyotes have not raised his name in any trade discussions, but in a lot of their trade discussions that we know of, Arizona is in the picks and prospects business,” Marek explained on Sportsnet. “Right now, his name is coming up more and more, but we know Jakob Chychrun is going to stay, but everybody else we wonder about. But Barrett Hayton – André Tourigny, the Coyotes head coach, loves him, made him captain at the World Juniors in 2020, so it looks like (Hayton’s) staying.”
One player that is certain to be moved out of Arizona is 33 year-old Phil Kessel. The Coyotes are working hard to fulfill his desire to go play for a competitor.
The Montreal Canadiens are struggling out of the gate after making a run to the Cup last season.
“There’s some pretty good hockey players that aren’t playing up to their potential, and until they do, there’s nothing I’m going to do to make a change just to make a change,” GM Marc Bergevin explained last week.
While Bergevin is acting as a lame duck GM, he was asked about his desire to remain with Montreal. He replied simply, “In a perfect world, yes.”
There’s no word on Bergevin’s future but multiple reports suggests the Habs will hold firm on not making any deals…yet.
Senators looking for a forward
The Ottawa Senators lost Colin White long-term with a shoulder injury. They did get Brady Tkachuk back in the lineup, but want to bolster the offense.
“[The Senators] would like some help down the middle. They would even take some help down the wing if that’s what it takes to get this done,” Chris Johnston said on TSN’s Insider Trading. “They’re looking to add a player to their top nine that can produce a little offensively and help out their group in that regard.”
According to Johnston, the Sens are in good shape with 11 draft picks in 2022 and some prospects. So they certainly have the assets to get a deal done.
One player that could be a trade deadline acquisition is the Flyers’ Claude Giroux.
There’s also been some buzz that the only team he would waive his no-move clause for is the Ottawa Senators.
“Al Morganti stirred up something last week when he suggested unsigned Flyer Claude Giroux would be happy to play in the Canadian capital,” Elliotte Friedman wrote in his 32 Thoughts blog. “For what it’s worth, there were rumours about the two teams talking last summer, but I looked into it and got multiple denials. We will see what the future holds.”
Giroux, 33, is coming off a season where he scored 43 points in 54 games. This is the final year of a contract that comes with a $8.275M cap hit.