Certainly, there has been recent Boston Bruins trade buzz around Sidney Crosby, and there are some very “real world” trade scenarios with the Nashville Predators for players like top-4 defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
But the new white whale for Bruins trade rumors begins, stands and ends with Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel as he continues to push through front office shake-ups, coaching changes and continued terrible team results on the ice in Buff. This has been the talk since last summer and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Eichel has two goals and 14 points and a minus-7 rating in 16 games for the Sabres, so he’s been just as caught up in the mediocrity as everybody else in a Sabres uniform. There will come a point where the 24-year-old is going to get dragged down by the Sabres just like everybody else in Buffalo has over the last decade.
So, the Chelmsford kid, for his own benefit, needs to shoot his way out of Buffalo before that happens. Just look at how that has worked for both Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois after both superstars clearly wanted a change of scenery. It’s a bit of a different story with a player like Eichel that’s on a massive contract and is more intertwined with the franchise at this point in his career, but the basic premise of a great player needing to escape his situation remains absolutely true.
And those in the know around the NHL believe it’s heading to a point of no return with Eichel in Buffalo.
Elliotte Friedman on WGR550 on whether he ever sees the possibility of the Sabres trading Jack Eichel: “Yes”
“Well here’s the thing, obviously the way the Sabres came back out of the break with two really tough losses has started the talk about what could be happening.”
— J (@Account4hockey) February 18, 2021
It sure isn’t going to happen this season given the money involved and it’s doubtful the Sabres would ever deal Eichel to a division rival like the Boston Bruins should it ever come to that. And, quite honestly, the Bruins don’t have the pieces to get an Eichel deal done because they surely aren’t going to be interested in moving either David Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy to make it happen, and a package around Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen and Jake DeBrusk isn’t likely to get it done unless trade prices come way, way down.
But Boston Bruins fans can dream about a 1-2 center punch of Patrice Bergeron and Eichel with David Krejci in the last year of his contract, and unlikely to return beyond this season unless it’s at a reduced price on a short-term deal. The first move will be Eichel deciding he’s had enough in Buffalo, and it doesn’t appear like he’s at that point yet, but how much more Buffalo basement-dwelling will it take for that to change?
Now on to the puck links:
*Speaking of Laine, a Patrik Laine snipe is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. May man Keats said that.
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) February 24, 2021
*Mike Babcock still isn’t really taking accountability for his past as he agrees to a head coaching gig with the University of Saskatchewan. (Sportsnet)
*Former first round pick Jake Bean has begun to carve out a role for himself with the Carolina Hurricanes as the Canes continue to develop that homegrown talent. (News & Observer)
*Awesome to see Henrik Lundqvist back on the ice stopping pucks after undergoing heart surgery just weeks ago. (New York Post)
*It was a rough win for the Pittsburgh Penguins last night as both Jason Zucker and Kris Letang went down with injuries. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*It’s pretty telling that guys like Paul Byron and Adam Henrique have cleared through waivers this season. It says that there isn’t going to be a wealth of riches waiting for hockey players in the near future, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts. (Sportsnet)
*FOH Adrian Dater asks if it’s time for the Colorado Avalanche to bench JT Compher after some lackluster play as a top-9 forward. (Colorado Hockey Now)
*For something completely different: Why aren’t the comic book creators of “WandaVision” getting the proper credit like so many other comic book creators in recent movies? It’s a great question. (BleedingCool.com)