Was the Jack Eichel trade worth it for the Vegas Golden Knights

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When the Vegas Golden Knights traded for Jack Eichel on November 4, there was a lot of pomp and circumstance to celebrate the move. I mean the excitement in Nevada and in the hockey world was palpable.

Vegas acquired Eichel and a 2023 third-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, a first-round pick in 2022, and a third-round selection in 2023.

“I think first it’s just excitement,” Eichel said after the trade. “There’s a lot of emotions involved unless you’ve gone through [being traded] before, which I haven’t. I’m just very relieved and so excited and thankful.”

Upon his arrival, Eichel was given a worthy Vegas greeting with all the showmanship the City could muster. It was an awesome start for the former second overall pick in the 2015 Draft.

Unfortunately, the season ended with bitter disappointment.

Was the Jack Eichel trade worth it?

Jack Eichel arrives in Vegas
Jack Eichel arrives in Vegas (photo courtesy Vegas Golden Knights)

Eichel, 25, had a remarkable season with 25 points in 34 games.

I’m sure the immediate reaction to that sentence was probably along the lines of ‘Are You Serious?’ However, Eichel had not played in a year and was the first NHL player to have artificial disc replacement surgery on his neck. It was something he fought tooth and nail to have with the Sabres. The disagreement led to his eventual trade.

Since his successful surgery, several other hockey players are now able to have this new procedure done instead the traditional neck fusion which requires future operations after their playing days are over.

Sadly, Eichel joining the lineup mid-season wasn’t enough to overcome other injuries the Golden Knights were dealing with. Captain Mark Stone was hampered by a back back and goalie Robin Lehner was playing with a bad shoulder to highlight how serious the health issues were for Vegas.

In the end, they missed the playoffs for the first time in their brief history.

That led to Peter DeBoer being fired and due to adding Eichel’s full $10 million cap hit, it saw the ever-popular Max Pacioretty traded to the Hurricanes for basically nothing.

This offseason, Vegas hired Bruce Cassidy almost immediately after the Boston Bruins let him go. He should be able to pick up where DeBoer left off and take this veteran group back to the playoffs.

So was the Jack Eichel trade worth it?

If Eichel doesn’t get back to being close to a point-a-game player, the answer will easily be no. While the jury is still out on the question, 34 games is not fair to judge. But considering how young Eichel is, and knowing what an offensive force he can be it should eventually lead to a yes.

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