NHL Rumors: Jack Eichel still expects a trade; Kraken to sign Jaden Schwartz; and top buyout candidates

The clock continues to tick down on the opening bell of Free Agency this Wednesday at 12 PM ET. There’s a number of teams waiting to see what the Sabres are going to do with Jack Eichel before that day.

Bottom line, whichever team is even remotely involved in talks for the 24 year-old with a $10,000,000 cap hit can’t wait on a trade beyond Wednesday. If a deal can’t be worked out by then, they will likely spend their money elsewhere. Consequently, that will make it less teams for the Sabres to maximize a trade return.

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NHL Rumors: Jack Eichel still expects to be traded

GM Kevyn Adams has made it clear that he will not be trading Eichel unless he gets what he wants. Which everyone says is still too high, and all we know is that it’s a rumored four pieces. There has been no definitive report as to any specific trade package offered or rejected.

“I have in any way, shape or form hard feelings with Jack Eichel. I like Jack,” the Sabres GM said and even hinted he’s welcome him back to camp next season. “I’ve talked to his agent twice [Saturday]. I understand where he is, but from my standpoint, he is a player on our team and a very good one.”

Could Eichel start the season in Buffalo? Not if he and his agents have any say in the matter.

“Our expectation is that Jack is going to be traded in the near future, and all of our discussions have been centred around that issue,” came a dual response from Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli. They wouldn’t comment further about Eichel’s status. He’s skating, but it’s believed he will still need surgery — although the Sabres haven’t approved his preferred choice, a disc replacement.

Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

Seattle Kraken to sign Jaden Schwartz

May 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) skates during warmups in game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports, during the Kraken’s exclusivity window to negotiate with pending free agents, plenty of headway was made with Jaden Schwartz.

The 29 year-old Schwartz struggled this year with just 21 points in 40 games. He has 60-65 point potential and plays a solid two-way game so there will be interest.

When the opening bell of free agency rings, it is expected he will sign on with Ron Francis in Seattle. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic also thinks they will take a run at Phillip Danault and Gabriel Landeskog.

“Things were different this time around and that is part of why we did what we did,” Kraken GM Ron Francis said Sunday via text message. “And yes, we will be like 31 other teams in that we will be hoping to be a part of things on Wednesday.”

Pierre LeBrun, The Athletic

Top buyout candidates

The first buyout window closes in two days. Here’s a list of some of the top potential buyout candidates:

  • Braden Holtby (VAN)
  • James Neal (EDM)
  • Mikko Koskinen (EDM)
  • Olli Maatta (LAK)
  • Martin Jones (SJS)