The NHL off-season is rolling along with the Buffalo Sabres no closer to trading Jack Eichel. Nevertheless, The Athletic's Rick Carpiniello felt we shouldn't be surprised if Mika Zibanejad is part of a deal that brings the Sabres captain to the New York Rangers.
Carpiniello tossed off that possibility on Monday, adding fuel to speculation percolating during last weekend that a trade could be close. It began last Thursday with Eichel starting a Twitter account making no mention of the Sabres. The following day, MSG Network's Steve Valiquette tweeted out,“My Spidey senses are tingling. Eichel #NYR”.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks dismissed the conjecture. He said Rangers general manager Chris Drury was telling agents he never expressed serious interest in Eichel and couldn't understand why his club was linked to the unhappy Sabres captain.
As for Carpiniello's tweet about Zibanejad, The Buffalo News' Lance Lysowski doubted the Blueshirts center would waive his no-movement clause to go to Buffalo. He felt that scenario would require a third team to get involved.
Perhaps that third team could be the Vegas Golden Knights. They need a true first-line center and apparently inquired about Eichel. On July 27, Ryan Kennedy reported the Sabres' asking price was Reilly Smith, Peyton Krebs, Nicolas Hague and a first-round pick.
Since this is the season for tossing out trade suggestions, how about this one: The Golden Knights trade the package reported by Kennedy to the Sabres for Eichel, then flip him to the Rangers for Zibanejad if the latter waives his no-movement clause.
It probably won't happen, but it would provide some welcome excitement to this off-season's dog days.