The latest salvo in Jack Eichel's standoff with Buffalo Sabres management came Friday when his agents released a statement critical of the club's handling of his treatment for his injured neck. Whether the gambit prompts general manager Kevyn Adams to trade the 24-year-old center remains to be seen.
Replying to Adams' remarks last week claiming the Sabres were in control of the process, agents Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli addressed the club's reluctance to allow Eichel to undergo Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery. “This process is stopping Jack from playing in the NHL and its not working,” they concluded.
They also indicated they anticipated a trade for their client by the start of the free agent market on July 28. Sabres management declined to respond to the statement. Meanwhile, the rumor mill keeps churning over possible destinations for Eichel.
John Vogl of The Athletic recently reported the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers appear to be in the mix but the Minnesota Wild had dropped out. The Los Angeles Kings' free-agent signing of Phillip Danault seems to take them out of the bidding.
The Vegas Golden Knights' trading Marc-Andre Fleury last week to the Chicago Blackhawks sparked speculation they were freeing up payroll for Eichel's $10-million cap hit. GM Kelly McCrimmon claimed his club wasn't likely to be involved in any other deals, pointing to his limited cap space.
McCrimmon's acquisition of winger Evgenii Dadonov from the Ottawa Senators seemed to confirm his position. However, the New York Post's Larry Brooks claimed the Golden Knights remain serious about pursuing an Eichel trade. He also wondered if a trade package with Kaapo Kakko as the centerpiece would enable the New York Rangers to land the superstar center.