Most of the recent Jack Eichel trade speculation focused on the Vegas Golden Knights' rumored efforts to acquire the 25-year-old Buffalo Sabres center. However, the Calgary Flames have surfaced as a serious suitor.
The Flames were mentioned at times during the offseason to be among the clubs looking into the cost of acquiring Eichel. They weren't considered among the front-runners but that changed last week amid reports of discussions heating up between the Sabres and Golden Knights.
On Monday, The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington cited ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes saying not to sleep on the Flames as an Eichel trade partner. The following day, ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported sources said the Golden Knights and the Flames were the sole finalists in the Eichel bidding. She was told a trade could be close but details were still being worked out.
Harrington noted the Flames lack the prospect depth of other clubs in the Eichel sweepstakes. With the Sabres off to a good start, he wondered if general manager Kevyn Adams was seeking more immediate help. He pointed out Flames VP of hockey operations Don Maloney was spotted at two recent Sabres games against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
Cap Friendly shows the Flames with about $1 million in cap space so they must move some salary to take on Eichel's cap hit. Harrington doubts Matthew Tkachuk's going anywhere but wondered if Sean Monahan or Elias Lindholm could be part of a package offer.
Monahan's 10-team no-trade list could prevent the Flames from sending him to the Sabres. Lindholm lacks no-trade protection but his $4.85-million salary isn't enough to make the dollars fit unless they include another salaried player or two in the deal.