NHL Rumors: Fallout for Golden Knights, and what the Sabres need to do to trade Jack Eichel

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Jun 24, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (62) celebrates with forwards Phillip Danault (24) and Brendan Gallagher (11) after scoring a goal against Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) during the overtime period in game six of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights got their golf season ticket punched by the Montreal Canadiens last night. Almost as soon as the puck crossed the goal line, calls for offseason changes began to come in. Some even suggesting that Vegas should could in on the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.

Fallout for Golden Knights

“I got skunked this series,” a dejected Mark Stone said after the series. “That can’t happen. I’m the captain of this team, the leader of this team. I take a lot of responsibility for what just occurred.”

Other people that need to take responsibility for what occurred are team President George McPhee and GM Kelly McCrimmon. Both will need to look over this roster and determined where to go from here. The team is most assuredly losing key defenseman, Alec Martinez to free agency this summer as they only have around $6 million in cap space and 18 players under contract.

The biggest issue for the Golden Knights is in goal as both goalies are being paid starter salaries. Marc-Andre Fleury makes $7 million and Robin Lehner earns $5 million. If they can, moving Fleury should be a priority since he only has one year left and is 36 years of age. I for one believe there are a few teams he would waive his no move clause, one being his old Pittsburgh Penguins. The Golden Knights will need to eat 50% of that salary in order to facilitate a deal.

Another move they could then try and make is to bring in more scoring. A trade for Evgeny Kuznetsov would make sense as they need help down the middle. He is listed as available and comes at an easier cap hit ($7.8M) than Eichel ($10M).

Sabres need to change stance in order to trade Jack Eichel

jack eichel rumors
Dec 12, 2019; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) celebrates his goal with center Sam Reinhart (23) during the second period against the Nashville Predators at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

First it was the New York Rangers cooling their heels on Jack Eichel. That was followed by a report that the L.A. Kings were not in on him either. Now we are learning that another team was likely never in it after all.

Aaron Portzline who covers the Blue Jackets for The Athletic wrote, “After talking with numerous sources in recent days, it doesn’t appear that the Blue Jackets — at least as of today — are in hot pursuit of Eichel, one of the premier centers in the league.”

As more teams “drop out” of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes, who is left – if there’s really anyone at all.

If it is the Anaheim Ducks as many suggest, why in the world would they cave in to Kevyn Adams ridiculous demands of four to five pieces which must include prized prospects? GM Bob Murray must certainly be pulling out Trevor Zegras and/or Jamie Drysdale out of any potential deal.

What about the Minnesota Wild? They are mentioned in rumors but I haven’t heard much about them. Adams is going to have to do something if he intends on trading Eichel. Lower the ask, allow teams to speak with Eichel, or both.

He needs more teams in. Hell, he may even have to eat a million or two off the deal to get the package he’s looking for. Should that come to fruition, the Rangers and maybe others would circle back.