On the his 31 Thoughts podcast earlier this month, Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported that trade talks for Buffalo Sabres captain and superstar Jack Eichel had mostly been informal and had included teams like the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.
Here's what Friedman had to report at that time:
“LA can do it, Anaheim can do it, Ottawa can do it but I don’t see it. Montreal can do it. You know someone told me that St. Louis wanted to move some of their young pros and he could see St. Louis putting together a package to do it. Winnipeg could do it… but number one on the list has to be the Rangers. Boston’s going to want to do it and Columbus is going to want to do it, but the Rangers is who everyone is looking at.”
Flash forward to today and it seems like Eichel trade talks have picked up a bit of steam. In particular, Friedman seems convinced that Ducks GM Bob Murray will take the hardest run and Eichel and may even offer up top prospect Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras along with the 3rd overall pick in this summer's NHL Entry Draft.
Friedman also reports that any Eastern Conference teams looking to trade for Eichel will have to really pony up to keep him close to the Sabres,.
“Some of the Eastern teams I’ve spoken to say that they can tell that the Sabres are not as thrilled with the idea of him being in the same division and or conference. Some of the Eastern teams believe that if they’re going to get him, it’s really going to cost them,” Friedman said.
Most interesting though is Friedman's comments about the Ducks and Drysdale and Zegras.
Check it out:
“I think Anaheim [Ducks] is in on both players," he said. "Now I don’t think they’d get both, but I do think that Anaheim has talked about both Reinhart and Eichel. In 2019, many thought the Sabres were going to take Trevor Zegras at No. 7, but took Dylan Cozens instead. The Ducks grabbed Zegras with the No. 9 pick, and now many want him to be traded to Buffalo if Eichel goes to Anaheim. Columbus wanted Zegras if they were going to trade Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Ducks, but Anaheim refused both Zegras and the sixth overall pick in 2020, defenseman Jamie Drysdale, in that trade."
Zegras and Drysdale, of course, both starred for USA and Canada respectively at the 2021 World Junior Championships in Edmonton this past December and January. Zegras, as Friedman points out, was the 9th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, while Drysdale was the 6th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Both players have gotten off to strong starts in their pro careers and look to be studs in the making. In other words: the Sabres could do a lot worse on the trade front than acquiring two blue chip prospects like these two, PLUS the 3rd overall selection in this summer's draft.
Source: Elliotte Friedman · Photo Credit: Zuma Press