While the Buffalo Sabres have been manifesting in turmoil for the past decade, their captain has been growing increasingly unhappy with the team for his situation. The former 2nd overall pick is infuriated with the unacceptable levels of mediocrity from the Sabres during his tenure, and it’s seemingly becoming mutual with the organization now expecting to move on from Jack Eichel; could the Carolina Hurricanes make a move for him?
Eichel has been suffering as a Sabre for a long time. Drafted 2nd overall in 2015 (behind only the great Connor McDavid), the Massachusetts native has endured the eternal mire of irrelevance with the Sabres for the length of his short career to this point. However, as you can see from the tweet above, this is not the cause of the disgruntled star centre.
During the 2020-21 regular season, Jack Eichel suffered an injury. Normally, this is not the cause of a major falling out between star and organization, but this time is different. Disagreeing on the best treatment plans, Eichel pushed hard to have surgery on his neck injury while the team heavily advised against it. Eichel would not return to play, seeking secondary and tertiary opinions on the matter.
So, why do I mention this here on Cardiac Cane? Eichel is a Sabre, and the teams favored to land him are Los Angeles and New York. Over the past weeks, however, rumours uniting the Carolina Hurricanes and the former 2nd overall pick have started to gain frequency. While some of this is likely due to Carolina’s scoring woes in the postseason, it makes a lot more sense than some people will think.
Let me start by saying that if the Carolina Hurricanes do pick up Eichel, it’s very likely he’s the second-line centre to start. I cannot see any logical reason why a player coming off an injury after leaving a franchise disgruntled and unhappy should ever displace a first-line centre who has been one of the best in the league for multiple years.
Obviously, Eichel probably wouldn’t start the season on time, which makes this interesting. Whenever he is traded, he will likely have the surgery he desires for his ailment. Meaning the Carolina Hurricanes can’t just part with someone like Vincent Trocheck for nothing in this deal without it potentially wrecking their season depending on the recovery time for Eichel’s hypothetical surgery.
Meeting the demands of the Sabres to acquire this player is going to be a little more strenuous. Pieces going back may have to include players with the quality of Seth Jarvis, Ryan Suzuki, Dominik Bokk and Joey Keane. It’s also likely to include the Canes 1st round pick in 2021. It’s a steep price to pay, but getting someone like Eichel would take the Canes top 6 to a different level.
Is this likely to happen? I don’t believe so. I don’t know what is going to happen with the Sabres captain, but I find it difficult to believe that Carolina will be the only team interested. They certainly are not the only team with the assets to make the move with the Sabres.
Alternate drawbacks to acquiring Eichel will include his cap hit. He is worth his deal, when he’s healthy, which is $10 million per year. Trying to fit that under the cap in this flat cap era is going to be far more challenging without sending the equivalent in money back, which would cost more assets. A move for Eichel would also likely spell the end of the road in Carolina for someone like Dougie Hamilton as well, considering the cap hit Dougie is set to command this offseason.
While there are positives and negatives to a potential Eichel move, the overall situation remains cloudy and unclear. It’s probable that Eichel will depart the Sabres organization this summer, so why not bring him to Carolina?