Report: Kings not interested in Jack Eichel; Sabres in a tough spot

sabres take captain from eichel
Oct 6, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) reacts before a game against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

A new report coming out of L.A. states that the Kings may not be interested in Jack Eichel any longer. Over the last few weeks, both Frank Seravalli and Darren Dreger have reported that the Kings had some discussions with the Sabres for the 24 year-old center.

“Don’t sleep on two California teams,” Frank Seravalli said on Insider Trading. “The Anaheim Ducks and their GM, Bob Murray want to make a splash and the Los Angeles Kings.”

“They have the goods to bring in a guy like Jack Eichel and more importantly they’ve had interest,” Seravalli continued. “I can tell you that the Kings had a cursory conversation at the deadline about acquiring Jack Eichel and I expect that to pick up this summer.”

Kings not interested in Jack Eichel

John Hoven is known as an LA Kings Insider. In his latest article he notes that it appears whatever interest GM Rob Blake had may be gone.

In talking with several sources around the organization over the past few weeks, there just doesn’t appear to be much interest in Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel. You can point to any number of different reasons why — the neck injury and the big contract (five more years at a $10M AAV, including four years of a No Movement Clause) certainly come up often — yet, in the end, it’s the acquisition cost than most likely kills any deal for the 24-year-old center. The Kings aren’t looking to trade Quinton Byfield, period. That alone could sour the Sabres. On top of that, LA’s other top of the food of chain assets are being saved for what they feel is their eventual ‘big move,’ namely a defenseman.

John Hoven

Back in May, a team source told me that the Rangers interest in Eichel also cooled. As to why, three major factors were pointed out to me.

A) His $10 million dollar cap hit could be easily fit into next season. However, come 2022-23 with Mika Zibanejad up for a new deal it becomes difficult. Also Ryan Strome is a UFA, but it would safe to assume he’d be moved out to make room for Eichel. The real problem comes in the form of RFA’s Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, and Vitali Kravtsov. All should be a higher priority in signing.

B) His neck injury is a serious concern. Obviously that impacts everyone looking to trade for him, but that health uncertainty has backed the Rangers off.

C) The Sabres are still asking for way too much. We know the Blueshirts had a “reasonable offer” last year that was considered but ultimately declined. Now the demands have gone up and despite neck issues have not come down. Buffalo is just not being realistic.

Seems like the two biggest players in the Eichel sweepstakes have backed off. Of course, that could change if the Sabres make some adjustments on their end.

Sabres want another team to deal with Eichel’s neck issues

The Jack Eichel saga with the Buffalo Sabres continues to rage on. There is a lot of talk coming from GM Kevyn Adams but next to nothing from Eichel’s camp. The only indication of chatter from Jack or his agent are suggestions being made by some of the top insiders.

eichel
Feb 18, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) skates during warmups prior to the Sabres’ game against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“It’s clear there is a clear lack of trust between Eichel and the Sabres right now,” Elliotte Friedman said on his 31 Thoughts podcast. “Again, this is me talking, nobody is telling me this, I wonder if this is a deal that happens sooner rather than later for that reason.”

According to Friedman’s reporting, both sides have reached out to their respective representation to determine their rights. “My personal opinion, whatever Eichel decides to do will be in conjunction with the next team that acquires him.”

The teams interested in Eichel reached out to ask if there was more info not yet public. He told them there wasn’t. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Sabres answer to this is to potentially is to punt the situation to another team,” Friedman added.

Sabres need to lower their asking price

If that’s the case, and two teams like the Rangers and Kings are backing off, where does that leave Buffalo? Kevyn Adams could turn to the Blue Jackets who are also rumored to be interested, but what leverage do they have if less teams are interested. Then there’s the real possibility that Eichel goes public with an “official” trade request and this becomes an even worse public relations nightmare.

Bottom line, Buffalo is going to need to lower their asking price or at least allow other teams to talk with Eichel and his agent. The acquiring team needs to know what’s going on with his neck issue before making any serious offer. Otherwise, this is going to be another long season for the Sabres and Jack Eichel.