The odds of Jack Eichel being traded from the Buffalo Sabres this offseason increased dramatically this season with Eichel hurling some grenades at the sputtering NHL franchise and officially becoming the biggest name on the 2021 offseason NHL Trade market.
In a candid zoom call with reporters, telling the media Monday that the Sabres essentially delayed him getting the surgery for the herniated disc in his neck that caused him to miss the final 33 games of the 2021 NHL season, Eichel made it very clear that his future in Buffalo is uncertain at best.
“I’ve been a bit upset about the ways things have been handled since I’ve been hurt,” Eichel said. “I’d be lying to say that things have moved smoothly since my injury. There’s been a bit of a disconnect between myself and the organization. It’s been tough at times. Right now, for me, the most important thing is just trying to get healthy, figure out a way to be available to play hockey next year, wherever that might be.”
Drafted second overall behind Edmonton Oilers superstar and Hart Trophy candidate Connor McDavid, Eichel has unfortunately wallowed in purgatory with the Sabres while McDavid has won the Art Ross Trophy twice, the Ted Lindsay Award twice and is about to win his second Hart Trophy after winning his first in 2017. He’s also done another thing that Eichel hasn’t been able to do in six NHL seasons and the Sabres haven’t done in ten seasons: play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and while Eichel recounted another frustrating season in Buffalo, McDavid was preparing to play his final game of the 2021 regular season and then take his second shot at the Stanley Cup.
So let the NHL trade rumors surrounding the 24-year-old Chelmsford, MA native and former Boston University star kick into high gear again and one would expect that the Boston Bruins will be first in line to bring the local kid home and finish out the five years ($10 million cap hit) in Black and Gold. However, they will certainly have plenty of competition on the NHL trade market, and one team to keep an eye on will be the New York Rangers. Eichel has a strong relationship with new Rangers GM Chris Drury who is another former BU star and Drury would love to make a huge splash on the NHL trade market in his first offseason as GM of the Blue Shirts.
Now onto the rest of your BHN Daily Links:
Welcome back, Ondrej Kase! The forgotten Boston Bruins winger will return to the lineup after a 52-game absence thanks to a concussion. My partner-in-crime, Joe Haggerty, has more. (Boston Hockey Now)
Haggs also took a deep dive into what the Bruins playoff roster should look like as well. (Boston Hockey Now)
Back to the Rangers, could NHL Network analyst and former Rangers goalie Kevin Weekes become one of Drury’s right-hand men soon? Also, Jaro Halak’s days in Boston appear more and more numbered. That and more in my latest ‘Off The Record’. (Boston Hockey Now)
Here’s a scary thought for the Bruins and the East Division: The Pittsburgh Penguins will be fully healthy for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Dan Kingerski has more. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Depending on if they can beat the New York Islanders tonight at TD Garden, the Bruins will play either the Pens or the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Whoever plays the Isles though better prepared for a louder crowd at the Nassau Coliseum because their capacity is increasing. (NYI Hockey Now)
Alex Wennberg has finally found his niche on the Florida Panthers roster. FOBHN (Friend of Boston Hockey Now), George Richards has more. (Florida Hockey Now)
Big Mack is back for the Colorado Avalanche! (Colorado Hockey Now)