TSN's Darren Dreger reported Monday clubs are calling the Buffalo Sabres expressing interest in several players, among them Jack Eichel. Dreger didn't mention specific teams, raising the question about which ones are focused on the Sabres captain.
Eichel became the subject of trade speculation last month after citing a “disconnect” between himself and management over treatment for a herniated disk in his neck. Whoever is interested in the 25-year-old center, however, needs sufficient cap space to absorb his $10-million annual cap hit and tradeable assets to tempt the Sabres.
On May 11, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman suggested the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens as potential suitors for Eichel. Perhaps they're among those making inquiries.
Former TSN insider Frank Seravalli also proposed keeping an eye on the Ducks and Kings. He said Ducks general manager Bob Murray wants to make a splash this summer. Seravalli also indicated the Kings had a cursory conversation with the Sabres about Eichel before the April trade deadline.
On Tuesday, Dreger reported the Kings are hoping to acquire two top-six forwards via trade or free agency. Could Eichel be one of them?
CapFriendly shows the Kings with just over $61 million invested in 18 players for 2021-22, more than enough to absorb Eichel's $10 million annual cap hit. They also carry considerable depth in draft picks and prospects to make an enticing offer to the Sabres.
Acquiring Eichel would bring the Kings one top-six forward but his hefty contract won't leave sufficient cap space to acquire another. They could instead have more affordable short-term options in their sights, perhaps someone like Eichel's teammate Sam Reinhart.