The NHL Rumor Mill is now geared towards the upcoming offseason. There’s plenty of news brewing with many clubs eliminated or close to elimination for the playoffs. One team that has already been mathematically removed from the playoff picture are the Buffalo Sabres. From here and until the start of next season the talk will be centered around one disgruntled superstar.
Trading Jack Eichel before his no move clause kicks in
Jack Eichel signed an 8 year deal for $80,000,000 in 2018. He’s rewarded the Sabres with 178 points in 166 games since he inked the contract. For his young career, he has 355 points in 375 games. Unfortunately for him and the Sabres he’s on six straight seasons with no playoff games. Matter of fact, the only thing Eichel has experienced are 3 coaching changes already. Not exactly the definition of stability in Buffalo.
The 24 year-old center comes with an AAV $10 million and has 5 more years remaining. However, the way they structured the deal he was paid $7.5 million in a signing bonus this season. His base salary on this year was just $2.5 million, so the Sabres were never trading him this season after paying all that money.
This offseason, their stance on moving Eichel will likely change because finances play a huge role in the NHL’s COVID economy. In the summer of 2022 he will be due another $7.5 million bonus and his no trade kicks in. If Eichel is going to be dealt it would make more sense to do it before the start of next season and no later than the trade deadline.
However, John Vogl of The Athletic doesn’t see it as that concerning. “Pittsburgh showed in September that clauses don’t carry the clout they promise,” he wrote. “Patric Hornqvist had a no-trade stipulation, but the Penguins worked out a deal with Florida. The forward was furious but accepted the trade when he learned “Pittsburgh didn’t want me.” Would Eichel want to stay in a place that didn’t want him rather than go to another club, even if it wasn’t his top choice?”
While I can see his point, comparing Hornqvist to Eichel isn’t even in the same stratosphere. No one was banging the door down for Hornqvist. Meanwhile, Eichel already knows the New York Rangers made an offer for him recently. The Sabres are better off to move him now before he kills a much bigger return, same as Taylor Hall at the deadline.
Oscar Klefbom’s future
The Edmonton Oilers announced in December of 2020 that they would be without defenseman Oscar Klefbom this season due to injury. At the time, GM Ken Holland said that the shoulder surgery required time and that the hope was he’d be back for next season.
So what is the status of Klefbom’s future not only in Edmonton but his NHL career? Holland spoke to the media about it recently.
“I told Klef that I’d talk to him as we got into June and July to see how he was doing,” he said. “Obviously I have to make decisions about our team heading into the expansion draft and who we protect and also about free agency as to whether he’s thinking about playing next year or not.”Edmonton Journal
This certainly leaves a few things up in the air for the Oilers, but so long as Holland knows before the Seattle expansion draft they’ll be alright.
Johnny Gaudreau the eventual Flyer
There’s growing buzz around the rumor mill that the Flyers and Flames will become dance partners this summer. Both are looking to make some significant changes and Johnny Gaudreau in Philadelphia seems inevitable.
In a recent podcast appearance, Eric Francis who covers the Flames for Sportsnet had some interesting comments.
“There is zero doubt in my mind that he is not going to re-sign in Calgary. He says otherwise, but I think he is destined for Philadelphia,” Francis said when asked about Gaudreau’s future with Calgary. “I think people have thought that from the day he signed here and he’ll ultimately be a Flyer.”via The Fourth Period
Back in 2017, the up and coming star let it be known he’d love to play for his hometown Flyers. “I have a ton of family [in Philadelphia] all my friends,” Gaudreau said during an interview with a Philly sports station. “All my good friends and kids who I have played with all my life are from South Jersey, so it would be sweet to play here someday. You never know in sports. It’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area, they follow me pretty well.”
With the trade rumor mill constantly swirling around him, and Kevin Hayes clamoring to play with his College buddy again. These dots have been connected for awhile. So the question is, do the Flames trade him before his deal is up or wait and possibly see him walk to the Flyers for nothing.