The Buffalo Sabres released their training camp roster yesterday, and as expected it included Jack Eichel.
There was some questions leading up to camp on what the 24 year-old disgruntled and injured forward would do. In truth, not showing up was never an option as he would have been suspended and lost over $30K per day he missed.
Today, we await to see the results of his medical tests conducted by the team.
Jack Eichel at Sabres camp
A report from the Associated Press cited a source who asked for anonymity saying that Eichel would be in Buffalo for a pre-camp physical.
Expectations are that he will fail his physical and be sent back home to continue his rehab. That seems like the obvious short-term outcome, but how and when will this madness eventually end?
What would be shocking is if the Sabres medical staff cleared him after months of rehabilitation. That would throw a serious monkey wrench into things but is unlikely.
Buffalo can place Eichel on LTIR and let him wait for a trade to be reached, but who is going to give up major assets for a player who failed a physical, needs surgery, and makes $10 million against the cap?
No one. That’s the answer.
The dispute over neck surgery has been chronicled extensively. Eichel is asking for a surgery that no active NHL player has ever had, although it has been successful in other sports. NFL QB Peyton Manning being the most high-profile of them all.
Over the summer, Eichel with his then representation of Peter Fish met with the Sabres, NHL, and NHLPA to lay out their case. It resulted in a deadlock with the league taking the team’s side and the PA taking Eichel’s. Soon after, he hired super-agent Pat Brisson to take over.
It’s likely any team trading for him will demand their doctor’s look at him in order to complete any deal. If it is determined surgery is needed, the traditional fusion recovery time is no less than 12 weeks. Meanwhile, the disc replacement Eichel wants is a window of 8-10 weeks.
We are currently in a hold pattern with a trade likely not coming until a decision is made on surgery. Then we are looking at a trade deadline deal. Remember, next summer Eichel full no move clause kicks in giving him a lot of control and handcuffing the Sabres further.
Sabres to take captaincy away from Eichel
The relationship between the two sides is irreparable. No matter how this plays out after today’s physical no one can see Eichel coming back to play for the Sabres.
Is it possible that the C will be taken off his sweater? One top NHL Insider thinks so.
This is what I’m expecting over the next few days: Eichel comes to camp, but does not pass his physical and is not cleared to play. I also think there’s a very good chance Buffalo removes his captaincy. What I don’t know is if they’ve settled the medical path.Elliotte Friedman, 32 Thoughts
If there are any Sabres fans hoping that the two sides could patch things up, once the captaincy is taken away, that glimmer of hope should be totally snuffed out.
Friedman noted that there was some trade discussion recently but nothing came of it. Why would they? No one knows enough about his health and the Sabres continue to ask for a package befitting only a healthy Connor McDavid.