Just when you thought the Buffalo Sabres situation with Jack Eichel and the NHL trade market could not get uglier–the struggling franchise has dug the hole even deeper.
Buffalo stripped Eichel of his captaincy after he reported for training camp and–as expected–failed his physical. The acrimony shows no signs of abatement, nor has Buffalo moved an inch towards facilitating a trade.
OTR spoke to multiple NHL executives about the situation, Buffalo’s asking price for the injured and disgruntled center, and where it goes from here. One exec who spoke with Off the Record called Buffalo’s ask, ‘still insane.”
“It’s insane what they’re still asking,” said the NHL executive who has spoken directly with Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams and his staff. “They’re going to be stuck with him, and his value is just going to decline even more.”
So did the NHL trade wire lines open up at all between the Sabres and Eichel trade suitors in the immediate aftermath of the new rock bottom?
“Nothing,” said another NHL team executive who has been involved with Eichel NHL trade talks on behalf of his team. “Not in our plans unless they come to their senses. Way off. At this asking price, I don’t see who takes him. We were off by two big pieces. We really didn’t even get started despite what you hear.”
The Boston Bruins have also been rumored to be keeping tabs, but after numerous calls and texts to additional NHL execs and other sources, OTR could not confirm if Boston is still engaged in the NHL trade talks regarding Eichel or even keeping tabs on the constant NHL trade rumors surrounding the North Chelmsford, MA native.
Back on June 21, in our weekly ‘Off The Record’ column (which will start back up next week), we reported that if an organization wants to snag Eichel, it would need to surrender two, three, or even four more components.
“They want six components for Eichel. …six!” an executive told us back in June. “I get that Kevyn is in a really tough spot and needs to make sure he can get as close to Jack’s worth as possible, but this is just crazy. We’re talking a top-six center 25 years or under, a top 4 defenseman 25 or under, a first-round pick, and an assortment of three prospects. In this market and with so many teams trying to build from within because of the cap, how is he going to get that? Then, you don’t even know how Jack’s back will hold up.”
The frustration from all parties, internal and external, is now palpable.
Buzz But No Action For Hertl On NHL Trade Market
Numerous NHL teams continue to reach out to San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson about center Tomas Hertl, who is entering his walk year with a cap hit of $5.6 million. Two weeks ago, FOBHN Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reported this as the asking price for Hertl on the NHL trade market:
“Along with a first-round pick, they would have to get at least one potential high-end prospect in return, too, and preferably someone who could play NHL games ahead of or along the same timeline as guys like William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, and some of the other prospects who are around 19 or 20 years old (in other words, probably two years away). In a perfect world, that player is probably a center, but considering Ryan Merkley’s declining stock and Brent Burns’ advancing age, a defenseman might be just as welcomed.”
The Boston Bruins have been linked to interest in Hertl as a substitute for Eichel.
Based on numerous convos with NHL sources this week, it appears that A.) Hertl will be staying in San Jose for the time being, and B.) several teams, including the Bruins and GM Don Sweeney, really want to see what they have in training camp, the preseason, and at least the first month of the regular season.
Of course, that could change in an instant, but that’s the general feeling…right now.
Wilson says he's had several talks w/ Hertl's agent & will be talking to TH himself soon.
When asked if he wants TH to stay on #SJSharks long-term: "I love Tomas Hertl. But it has to be one of those things that works for everybody. We're dealing with some unique dynamics."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) September 23, 2021