It's a fresh season for the Buffalo Sabres, but something's still rotten with this team.
The team is on the verge of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 10th consecutive season despite making a big offseason splash in signing former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall. Now... Hall could be on the way out of town along with superstar captain Jack Eichel.
"It’s been a struggle for me, personally," Hall said last week. "I feel like I’ve had some bad luck a bit. But at the same time, when you’re not scoring, you got to change something, you got to find whatever is in your game that’s not allowing you to put the puck in the net. Right now, it’s been tough. I can’t lie to you. If I have four or five goals right now, you don’t really know what our season looks like, especially with how close the games we had and how much we’ve been in games right until the very end."
Now... does this mean he's on the trade block? Not necessarily, but Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that the Sabres may be looking at trade possibilities for both Hall and Eichel. When asked by Buffalo's WGR550 radio station on whether he ever sees the possibility of the Sabres trading Eichel, Friedman responded:
"Yes. Well, here's the thing, obviously the way the Sabres came back out of the break with two really tough losses has started the talk about what could be happening."
Now Friedman's counterpart over at TSN, Darren Dreger, is reporting that indeed Eichel has asked for a trade and is "wanting out of Buffalo."
From Dreger's most recent hit on TSN 1050 radio in Toronto:
"There are some who wonder if Jack Eichel is hurt. Well Ralph Krueger insists he's not hurt and the organization insists he's not hurt but his body language and the way he's playing.. it doesn't look good at all."
"Prior to the start of this season, go back into the summer, it's believed that Eichel had a conversation. And part of that conversation was wanting a change. Wanting out of Buffalo. Now they find a way to talk him into changing from that mindset." "They brought in Taylor Hall at $8M and thought that with a real good year maybe things would settle down. It's gone the exact opposite way. It's almost unbelievable how bad things have gotten."
"If this team continuse to plod along here the way that they are, I can't imagine this situation isn't revisited at around the trade deadline or in the offseason."
It certainly sounds like the Sabres and their former 2nd overall pick are headed for a messy divorce. And just today The Athletic listed Eichel as #2 on their Trade Board, meaning that he's the second most likely notable player to be traded this season.
So... where does he end up? From The Athletic's Trade Board:
“I think at the end of the day, Jack Eichel is going to end up a New York Ranger,” predicted one executive. “I just don’t know when that’s going to be.”
But at the same time, that same executive admitted that it would take a Hell of an offer from the Rangers to get Eichel.
Check it out:
“I would give up a lot for him. Talent-wise, he’s a top 10 forward in the league,” said another executive. “If they want to trade him, they are going to get a lot for him.”
For what it's worth Eichel is signed for the next five seasons at $10 million per season. Get those offers in.
Source: The Athletic · Photo Credit: Zuma Press