Jack Eichel's standoff with the Buffalo Sabres continues over which medical procedure he'll undergo for the herniated disc in his neck. The media continues to speculate over potential trade destinations for the 24-year-old center but finding a suitable fit remains elusive.
Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Seattle Kraken and Vegas Golden Knights as possible suitors. Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported talks between the Golden Knights and Sabres have increased in recent days.
Friedman, however, doesn't think any of them are close to getting a deal done. He pointed out Eichel's medical situation prevent him from providing immediate help to a “win-now” club such as the Golden Knights. Furthermore, the assets they would have to part with would deplete their roster. The same can be said for the Avalanche, Bruins, Hurricanes or any club that sees itself as a playoff contender this season.
Limited salary-cap space is another sticking point. Eichel carries a $10 million annual salary-cap hit through 2025-26. Cap Friendly indicates the Avalanche, Bruins, Flames, Golden Knights, Hurricanes, Rangers and Wild lack sufficient room to absorb his full cap hit.
The Sabres want Eichel's full contract off their books. Friedman and Seravalli suggested a third team getting involved to broker a deal. Nevertheless, that third part would want a substantial return to carry a big chunk of Eichel's annual cap hit until his contract expires.
The Ducks and Blue Jackets appear to be the only teams mentioned by Friedman with the cap space and depth in tradeable assets to acquire Eichel. Neither club, however, seems in any hurry to pull the trigger.