The focus of the hockey world is currently on which players the Seattle Kraken could select in Wednesday's expansion draft. That's knocked the Jack Eichel trade speculation to the sidelines.
Chatter over the future of the Buffalo Sabres' captain could ramp up again with the annual entry-draft taking place on Friday and Saturday. That's usually when the off-season trade market is at its busiest.
Several clubs, including the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers have surfaced as possible destinations for the 25-year-old Eichel.
So have the Minnesota Wild. The Athletic's Michael Russo reports they continue to have discussions with the Sabres but the asking price remains high.
The Sabres seek all futures from the Wild, which Russo believes could include top prospects Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy plus two first-round picks. Eichel's $10-million annual salary-cap hit through 2025-26 means the Sabres must take back a significant salary from the Wild or a third team gets involved as a third-party broker.
Eichel won't land in Minnesota unless the Sabres drop their asking price and the salary-cap complications are smoothed out.
Appearing on WGR 550's “The Instigators”, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Colorado Avalanche as a dark horse contender. If Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog departs via free agency next week, Friedman wondered if they would consider Eichel as a replacement.
Eichel would be a tremendous addition to most teams. The Avalanche, however, already have a superstar first-line center in Nathan MacKinnon, who's due for a big raise when his contract expires in 2023. Besides, Landeskog is a left winger so Eichel wouldn't address that void on their top line.