Irresponsible Rumormongering

Friedman: Sabres might “punt” Eichel to another team – trade discount incoming?

Yesterday, Elliotte Friedman noted that the Sabres are in a tough spot with Jack Eichel. Given that they have the #1 overall pick, Friedman said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Sabres “punt” the Eichel injury situation to another team. Does that mean the Rangers can get Eichel at a trade discount?

Friedman doesn’t specifically call out the injury, but that is what he’s talking about. It’s very clear the Eichel injury clouds everything. So let’s get into what this injury actually is.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, neither are you. I’m going based off what’s been reported and Googling what I can find off reputable spine health sources.

Injury Diagnosis

The diagnosis for Eichel is a herniated disc in his neck. According to Spine-Health.com, the pain can be an electric-like pain that goes down the neck/arm (or both) and severely restricts neck movement. That’s difficult enough for normal people, let alone hockey players. The issue with Eichel is that this appears to be a severe herniated disc, and that a cervical nerve root may be pinched.

This is pretty treatable without surgery. The cause of this is the trauma from a hit on March 7 that knocked him from the game. This is *not* a degenerative disc, that we know of. The disconnect, per The Athletic, is that Eichel wants surgery, and the team wants him to rehab the injury. While most herniated discs don’t require surgery, the fact that he’s a hockey player complicates matters.

Rehab vs. Surgical Treatments

The issue in Buffalo is the treatment disconnect. Per Spine-Health, rehab is a very viable option for treating this injury. The goal of rehab would be to strengthen the neck muscles, improving posture and improving strength and flexibility over time. It’s a longer term approach to the injury. This is not what Eichel wants. Eichel wants the surgery

Again per Spine-Health, the most common surgery, and the one Buffalo wants Eichel to get, is Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Spine Fusion (ACDF) surgery. Basically, the herniated disc is removed and the other vertebrae fuse together naturally. Sometimes a plate can be added for stability. It is a much quicker process and has a better chance for Eichel to return to the ice pain free.

It is worth noting that the ACDF surgery has not been performed on an NHL player. That is Buffalo’s concern. Or so they say.

Disconnect and Punting

From what is being reported by people outside the team, Buffalo doesn’t want to pay for the surgery. It’s tough to fault Eichel for wanting the surgery, as it has had good success in other patients. Buffalo doesn’t really have a medical leg to stand on, as NFL players have returned to play following the same surgery. What the surgery doesn’t cover is if this is a degenerative issue. Since I am working off Google, I’m not going to speculate on anything regarding degenerative disc issues. I’m focusing solely on the herniated disc treatment only.

Buffalo now wants to punt the injury to another team, at least per Friedman. If that happens, it means the acquiring team would need to pay for the surgery. That likely means an Eichel trade would come at a discount. What kind of discount remains to be seen, but this is comparable to trading a player before a big bonus payment. Real dollars matter, especially in a post COVID world.

Impacting Trade Cost

How much does this impact an Eichel trade? That is almost impossible to determine. We do know two facts with these kinds of trades:

  1. It never costs as much as we think, especially with injury concerns like this
  2. The team trading the best player never gets proper value

It seems the Sabres are bottoming out again and rebuilding with the first overall pick. It’s safe to assume any trade for Eichel will include Ryan Strome (salary purposes) and the #15 overall pick. From there, it is difficult to predict what Buffalo wants. They have holes everywhere in their prospect system, with the only notables being Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens. They may go for best available prospects as opposed to targeting a specific position.

What it means for the Rangers

Keeping all this in mind, we can probably eliminate any trade scenario that involves gutting the Rangers system or young NHL talent. It can also be inferred that since Buffalo doesn’t want to pay for the surgery, Buffalo doesn’t want to retain any salary in a trade either. That lowers the cost more. Luckily for the Rangers, they have cap space to spare.

This is where it gets interesting. Given the salary question and the injury question, Kaapo Kakko is off the table, unlike last offseason. It’s probably safe to assume that Nils Lundkvist and Braden Schneider aren’t going to be dangled in this trade, again because of the cap and injury considerations. Does that mean Matthew Robertson or Zac Jones are the top defense prospects available? It could.

The Rangers do need to give something, and I find it difficult to believe the Rangers do this without including Morgan Barron. A sweetener is probably needed too.

If a trade discount for Eichel, given the cap and injury concerns, gets to the point where the Rangers aren’t giving up any ‘A’ prospects or player, you have to make the trade. It all comes down to cost. And whether LA offers up one of their top center prospects.

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  • I don’t like the ideal of throwing Morgan Baron in the trade mix or the 1st.round pick. The Sabres can have Howden, Strome and Zac.

    The receiving team is taking all the risk as Jack not only has a potential career ending injury but comes with a 10 million dollars cap hit. I don’t believe teams will be lined up to trade for Eichel.

    • “The receiving team is taking all the risk as Jack not only has a potential career ending injury but comes with a 10 million dollars cap hit. I don’t believe teams will be lined up to trade for Eichel.”

      But they already are lining up… Not only that but NYR have shown that they want to be first in line…. Zib and Eichel would have been our center’s if Buffalo agreed to take Chytil and whatever else last summer. Unfortantly, Kakko might have to go but it sounds like the groundwork to trade for him is already there. Drury will get it done soon imo…

      • I guess time will tell how the Eichel drama plays out-Notsoavery. My guess with a flattened cap structure, cap space and draft picks will become dear and overpaid under achieving hockey players will flood the market.

      • His value has gone down in the last month and I’m sure there are plenty of teams that got off the line given the medical issues.

    • My biggest fear about taking on Eichel is his contract. Zibanejad is gonna get paid. If we want to keep him, that could potentially be upwards of $30 mil (cap dollars) on 3 players. Panarin, Eichel, and Zibanejad who had a slow start to last season due to lingering symptoms from Covid. When healthy, he has put up points at a superstar rate. If Zibanejad doesn’t get $10 mil per year, I’m certain he’s over $8 mil per and maybe $9.
      Personally I love the idea of having the 3 superstars up front. You have to spend wisely around the rest of the roster to create a winner and maybe even need some luck. It helps when you catch lightning in a bottle with a youngster on an ELC scoring 60 points in a season.
      The Rangers still have questions on the back end too. In today’s NHL, you need a mobile back end. I would like to see Trouba model his game around Hedman. I think he’s a step below what Hedman is but he has the skills to play that type of game.
      A big skilled D that can throw a big hit in the corner or Cary the puck up ice to begin a rush.

      • Please forgive me for putting this add on here but I wanted to post this as high up as I could. I have had 5 herniated disc in my neck 18 years. Mostly due to Martial Arts for 55 years, I chose not to do surgery and that was a big mistake! Now I have to have it because the disc are hitting my spinal cord which could result in being paralyzed. My arms go numb all the time, I can’t sleep much due to the severe pain down my arms and legs. An example of this pain is this: Think of your worse tooth ache hitting the nerve and double or triple that. It’s almost unbearable. The longer that disc hits the nerve the more the chance or permanent nerve damage(which is what I have) I wanted to do the surgery he wants but the insurance company won’t pay for it. If I were him I would do the surgery A.S.A.P.

        • good luck and a speedy rehabilitation on your surgery! hockey is a small item with this in your future. thank you for the education.

  • So, I will go with what others have suggested to me:

    Zib and Strome both get traded for top picks. the Rangers take those top picks received for Zib and Strome, their 15th, and throw in either Jones or Robertson, for Eichel.

    Then add a solid 3C, that plays both sides of the ice. Denault could be that guy under this scenario, with Zib’s and Strome’s cap hit off the team.

      • Eichel can’t sign with the Kings, he must be traded. He is already under a lengthy, expensive contract

      • I think it’s between the Rangers and the Kings, for Eichel, I agree.

        Unless the Sabres just do a total dump of the situation and refuse to trade him to an eastern conf team, and just get what they can. They are a real mess.

        • Getting Jack E. is like another Bobby Carpenter and can possibly challenge R Middleton-Ken Hodge. I thought the team was done with this. On another topic….Schieffle gets 4 games and Tom Punkwilson gets a fine for beating up Panarin, no suspension, and the Band Dolan gets a $250,000 hit for calling a foul? WTF?

          • The league has been a shambles ever since Bettman became Comish. Or should I say Bet-Man with all that revenue coming from the Legalized betting sites. Hey Gary, sell another franchise and water down the talent in the league some more. He should have stayed with Basketball.

          • I hate him. He’s taking a great sport and making it a mockery.

            And you are 100% right about the new franchises. $500M per team to the league, not shared with the players. Except for Seattle, due to Covid. What a guy!!

          • Not even close; Eichel is only 24. Not washed up like Hodge was. He would be a great acquisition as long as they don’t give up blue chip youngsters (Laf, Kakko, Chytil, Kravtsov, Lundqvist, etc.). We have plenty of draft picks to unload, along with Strome, and Georgi and a next tier youngster like Barron, Robertson….

    • 1st round draft picks are worth their weight in gold. I am not opposed to trading away players for 1st round draft picks just not in favour of trading them away for players.

      • I agree about the picks, but the Rangers really don’t care about picks right now. They care about making the playoffs. And first round picks won’t help them do that next year.

    • “So, I will go with what others have suggested to me:”

      Brooks, Foreverblueshirts, trade rumor twitter account that has a long list of movement before people like Friedman hear about…- All have alluded that Zib is 100% here to stay and the upgrade will be for Strome… If they can’t find a replacement than 100% we are going into next season with Zib/Strome.. Talk is that they want Eichel and Zib at the same time… Most likely Eichel serves as a humble reminder for Zib.. Either way I heard that they expect to give him in the 9 mill ball park..

      If Philip D comes here, it won’t be for a 3c… He is going to cash out and he deff won’t be going to a new team for 3c duties.. Again, it would most likely be Zib and Philip D… All signs and talk points to Strome being a insurance policy… They won’t get rid of him for the heck of it or for Chytil “to move up”.

      • The point of my post was how to get Eichel, not whether I think that the Rangers should do it, or if they will do it.

        I’m simply saying that, if the Rangers were to go for Eichel, then this might be the best way to go, to get him, without giving up a significant player. Yes, the Rangers would be trading their top 2 centers, but getting a better one back.

        And, I just ran the cap #s, there is no way that Eichel and Zib can be on the team at the same time, without gutting the rest of the team, for cap reasons.

        • Good point Richter. The hockey GM that can get the most bang for the cap space buck, will be the most successful.

        • “The point of my post was how to get Eichel, not whether I think that the Rangers should do it, or if they will do it.”

          Yeah I know and what I’m saying here is how that doesn’t line up with what has been out there so far…. That is the NYR have already made an offer for Eichel, which is a fact. I can’t state who they added to go back to Buffalo… What I am sure of was that Zib wasn’t apart of that deal, therefore this team was fully prepared to have Eichel and Zib going into last season…. Dolan doesn’t want to tear down, he told Drury to add more stars.

          It’s all about playoffs and any kinds of runs from here on out.. The talk has been about reinforcement of the 2c to give this team that vet look and presence down the middle… No way in any circumstance other than upgrading his role, would Strome be leaving. All the reports claim that they want to re-sign Zib and work it out, he is the leader of this team..

    • There is zero chance Zibanejad gets traded in any deal that involves Eichel!
      Common sense dictates that you don’t trade your best Center for a lateral move to get another Center

        • You said the Rangers should trade Zibanejad for picks and use those to acquire Eichel.
          What am I missing?

          • But it’s not a direct swap, meaning Zib for Eichel, though it is in an indirect way.

            Eichel is 4 years younger and still in his prime, injury aside. Zib is not in his prime and it’s possible that his production goes downhill from here. Eichel has a few years left on his deal that takes him through his prime years. Zib, presumably, will get a per cap hit that is a little less than Eichel’s, starting at 29 years of age.

            So I do not see how that is a lateral move.

          • Because, in a nutshell you have the Rangers swapping number 1 centers.
            It makes no sense whatsoever to do that.
            People are quick to dismiss Zibanejad but his performance with the Rangers speaks for itself.
            If the Rangers are foolish enough to trade for a player with a serious injury and take on his ridiculous contract, shame on them.

          • Please take a look at Eichel and mikas stats over the past 3-4 years.
            They are close but Mika holds a decisive edge.

          • I gave out a scenario that the Rangers could use to get Eichel. That’s it.

            I have said numerous times that I want no part of him because of his neck injury.

            But here are the facts, Eichel, when healthy, blows Zib away with underlying stats. Zib’s are inflated because of Buch and Eichel’s are diminished because of the crappy team that he’s on. So, if both were equally healthy, then Eichel would be the right move, not to mention being 4 years younger.

            But if you’re going to compare traditional stats, which you have every right to, then also understand who Zib has played with and who Eichel has played with. Not taking that context is what makes bad long-term contracts.

            So, if you’re asking me what I think the Rangers do, then I think that they end up re-signing Zib, only because they will have not other options. But if it’s for 7 years at $10M per, then we will hate that contract in 2-3 years.

            And to go one step further, trading Chytil in a package for Eichel is a colossal mistake. Chytil can easily do what Strome is doing, so locking him up for 5 years at $4-$4.5M per makes all the sense in the world.

          • Zib had 16 total pts against playoff teams this year, out of 50 total pts.

            Feel free to look it up in his game logs.

          • Here’s another, right from Quanthockey.com, pts per 60 minutes, 5 on 5 (500 career pts minimum):

            Eichel 2.795, 29th in the list of the top 50 active NHL players. On a shitty team, and lousy linemates.

            Zib? Not on the list at all. Not in the top 50.

            So, what is it that you’re saying to me?

          • Zib is definitely in his prime. Perhaps you mean he is edging towards the end of his prime but that is not the same thing.

          • Right. The concern with Zib is his next deal will pay him through his decline years. What to do with Zib is the single hardest question the Rangers face. I’m torn personally. I’d say move him if Barkov was a guarantee next offseason, but we all know that’s the not the case. Eichel is a huge red flag injury wise. I will say LTIR is real and a fall back of it’s a longer term situation. So long as the trade cost isn’t prohibitive.

          • Rangers have access to some of the best spinal surgeons who will tell them how big a risk this is. I am less worried about that and more worried about giving up too many future stars. I would love to see a pair of 1A and 1B centers like Zib and Eichel.

          • “But it’s not a direct swap, meaning Zib for Eichel, though it is in an indirect way.”

            Lol lateral move dude…When I was reading on down, I actually gave you the benefit of the doubt, until I read that ^ part… Man are you really trying to work ot on this? What a long and unnecessary thing to do when you can have Zib and Eichel as your 1a/1b….

            I think this revolves around Buch, Chytil and CK… Adding another star would directly affect those three… I think no matter how you slice it, guy’s who where around to start this rebuild will be gone.. Fox + Zib + whatver star comes over will force a hand in the Trouba and CK contacts.

          • Mika is in his prime, and if he wasn’t hampered by Covid he would have another great season. Hell his production on the tail end proves that. His only flaw is his inability to win faceoffs.

            Eichel is damaged goods. He knows it himself. Why else would he desperately opt for a surgery that has never been done on an athlete. He will never be the player he once was. He is done. If the NYR are dumb enough to try and aquire him then the organization deserves to fail. It is a dumb and crippling move. Pun intended.
            Barkov is a better option, especially to play with Kaako. Both being Finns that is.

          • How do you account for the islander games at the end of the season when it comes to Mika? Like what are you saying to yourself to full fill this fantasy? How does someone explain his absolutely piss poor effort against the islanders in these games when they mattered most?

          • I don’t know who you are responding to, but let me say that I did a total breakdown of pts for the top 6 (I posted this a couple of weeks ago), from Apr 1 to the end of the season, when the season was on the line.

            And the top 6 performed horribly against the playoff teams vs the non-playoff teams. When the games mattered the most. So, a lot of the “nice” annual stats that the top 6 had were compiling against the bad teams.

            The proof is in the pudding. The Carolina series during the summer of 2020, the 13-1 beatings during the last 3 games against the Isles, etc.

            So posters want to quote traditional stats to me, that’s not enough. You have to dig deeper to see when they got them. Getting 5 pts against Buffalo is not great when you get none against the Isles.

            And again, I LOVE MIKA, LOVE HIM, but there is no denying that Buch 100% drives his good play. So, you going to give Mika $70M because someone else drives his play? not to mention Mika’s high shooting %?

            And this is where a healthy Eichel blows Mika away. Jack is driving the play in Buffalo, but the problem is that he has no one to play with, so HIS stats are dragged down (both traditional stats and underlying stats). No one here wants to recognize that.

            But, that being said, and I will say it again, I want NO PART of Eichel. Posters here did not like what I posted above, on how to get Eichel, that’s fine, but if the Rangers want him, they’re going to go out and get him no matter what people here think of that potential trade. And if Chytil is involved in getting Jack, then that will be a en effing disaster all around. Which is why, if we are getting him, then I would rather go the route that I posted above, than trade Chytil.

            So to your point, 100% correct. Look at how these guys are performing against the better teams, the teams that make the playoffs. It’s not good. So if Mika takes a team friendly 6 years, $8M per contract, then I’m fine with it. But if it’s 7 years, $70M, then that will be a contract that we will hate not too long thereafter he signs it. Mark my words.

            Filling the 1C spot, no matter who it will be, is the toughest decision that Drury will make this offseason. Even harder then the decision for head coach, IMO. Because what the Rangers do at 1C will dictate what they do with thee rest of the roster, IMO.

          • Thumbs up on your first paragraph; thumbs down on your second. The doctors will decide the risk, not the GM.

          • I guess but even the doctors cannot predict the future, with hockey still being a physical sport.

            Any hit can cause issues again.

    • This is so stupid it is not even worth an answer. Thank God you are not our GM. We would be in a race with Buffalo for the bottom and probably win. I am curious who the ‘others’ are that would suggest something so foolish.

        • It’s not really hard to understand. If the Rangers get Eichel Zibanejad is gone. You can’t have both. Eichel is an elite 25 year old center who is still in his prime. Zibanejad’s new contract will be max length and probably at least 10 million a year.

          • “It’s not really hard to understand. If the Rangers get Eichel Zibanejad is gone.”

            Nope, they want to add another star, Dolan has gave the green light to spend now!! Spend quickly was also hinted in there. One or two of the youth pieces is what will be gone along with the spare parts.. Deff not Zibby though..

            By 2024 these names will be long gone….
            – Chytil for team identity and becoming expandable during a rebuild. He is likely gone this summer.

            Buch- No way they meet his demands once his contract becomes up. That is what makes me wonder if he could be gone this summer. Regardless, he is trade deadline bate. I don’t see Drury hesitating on that, he has seen better names leave.

            Kakko/Kravs- If they have to dig this deep into their pockets than I think Kakko is gone.

            CK/Trouba- I can’t see Drury running with those cap hits for very long. CK already being a lame duck to not gain captaincy by now and the team trying to trade him.. My guess is that he will be gone when his clause opens up.

          • Agree Buch will be a tough decision just because of the money. Love what he’s becoming as a player. Chytil and Kakko are going nowhere. If we get Eichel and keep Zib, Chytil will be a great 3rd C. I could see Drury exploring deals with Kreider and/or Trouba. I think Trouba has a lot to give that we haven’t see yet but that would open it up for keeping Jones/Schneider/Robertson….

    • Get rid of zib, strome, our 15th for eichel? And fill in roles with other players? Uh, no thank you

  • So much for my body my choice. Another factor that will hurt his trade value is the speculation that the cap won’t go up until 2024. It’s good the price is going down, but I’m still not sold on Eichel. A strong 4th line is a much bigger need. It’s cheaper to acquire and in our case an improved 4th line offers a lot more of what this teams needs to compete.

    • Andy, you are spot on. We have much greater needs than acquiring a fragile center like Eichel. Can you imagine what every fan and player will be thinking when he gets splattered into the boards? Does he get up? Does he get carried off? He is a great player but neck injuries are really scary. Ask Peyton Manning.

      • I’d rather see use keep the same top 3 lines, send Rooney, Howden and Blackwell elsewhere and sign 2 of Barlcay Goodrow, Casey Cizikas or Jordan Martinook and let them play with Baron on the 4th line. I am even fine to over pay them a little to get them on 2 year deals. we can afford it for 2 years anyway. Our top 6 isn’t the problem. If we can upgrade on Strome that’s fine, but it needs to make dollars and sense..

      • We all remember Lindros right. Great player, hall of fame player. Crippled by concussions, every hit was cringe worthy. It will be the same with Jack Eichel.

  • My understanding is that spinal fusion is not the surgery Eichel wants, nor would he be a good candidate right now. Spinal fusion results in decreased mobility and actually puts additional pressure on the disks above and below the fusion, potentially leaving them more injury prone. That’s not a huge problem for the average 55 yr old, but it’s not a great choice for a 24 yr old pro athlete.

    Eichel is actually interested in artificial disk replacement, whereby the herniated, damaged disk is replaced with an artificial substitute. This is a fairly common surgery for degenerative disks in Europe, but is far less common in the US (mostly due to non-medical reasons, insurance, training, etc).

    I’m not a doctor but I had a serious spinal disk rupture when I was 19, which resulted in a degenerative condition for which I’ve have had 2 spinal surgeries. I’m likely to have fusion or replacement surgery in the future, so I’ve had quite a few discussions about this with many doctors. I’d say the Sabres are probably correct in pushing for rehab. Spinal surgery, particularly replacement, is major and can have complications. In most cases it goes extremely well, but as a 24 yr old pro athlete, presumably in great shape, he can probably get as good or better results with rehab and leave all the higher risk surgical options for when he’s older.

    As I see it, there are 3 possible scenarios here: (1) Eichel is misinformed about the surgical risks and is fixated on a less-than-ideal surgical option, (2) his injury is uniquely problematic and he’s actually an unusually good candidate for riskier surgical options, or (3) he knows rehab will work fine, but is using this as a bargaining chip to force his way out of the Sabres org.

    My guess is scenario 3 is in play here. I think he wants out and knows that lowering his trade value will force the Sabres hand.

    • Yup, you nailed it. A few things to add, it has been done before on NFL players. It’s not “experimental”. There is a bit more to the story like you alluded to.

      I recently had a conversation with an ex-buffalo sabers medical trainer.

    • You described the surgeries very accurately. I was entered.in a clinical trial for artificial cervical disk replacement in 2008. I ultimately decided the risks were far too great due to the lack of experienced doctors who performed the procedures, problems with the disk material (lack of durability) and potential of catastrophic results if revision surgery was needed. (Since.its near spinal cord, paralysis or nerve damage.was mentioned).
      I opted for cervical fusion which was successful, but there was a lengthy recovery period. Needless to say I didnt play a Contact sport, but I was told it would take a full year for the bone to fuse around the absorbable plate and screws.
      If I’m the Rangers, I stay away at least until AFTER surgery to see how he responds.

    • The reason Friedman raised the issue again was that Eichel had finished his 12 week rest & rehab section of his therapy and the question was whether Buffalo was willing to wait to see what the outcome was, hence the “punt”.

      Article 34.4 of the CBA allows for up to 3 medical opinions, but the green light for surgery is only granted by the team doctor. Under the MOU, the player is allowed to bring in an unapproved doctor for a 2nd opinion, but is responsible for the costs. The team doctor still has control of course of action.

      So if the 12 weeks are up, I’m sure all 3 doctors will get a fresh look and I’m guessing 2 of the 3 doctors will maintain their position even if things have changed. If team doctor doesn’t approve, any surgery would come out of Eichel’s contract and he would be looking at a loss of salary via violation of paragraph 5 of the SPC.

      To be fair, there is a bit of loose language between CBA 34.4 and Paragraph 5 of the SPC. The former says that the team doctor is final decider on surgery, but the latter states that the 3rx opinion will prevail in any dispute.

      • As for the surgery not being experimental, show me a doctor in the US that has done 100 of these or who has trained under a doctor who has.

        Lumbar disc replacement is pretty common at this point, but I can’t see insurance companies signing off on it for now. Then it become whether a team has the deep pockets to take the risk and self insure.

        And if it comes down to a team having to self insure the player, you are looking at a tremendous trade discount for accounting purposes. Like actual player value – average player value cost to do the deal.

        It really all depends on what the 3 doctors agree on.

  • I’m not sold on Eichel and his huge contract.
    Trade or sign a 3C who is great on face offs , and drives possession. That’s what the Rangers really need.
    Add in a few gritty, physical forwards and the team will be transformed

    • Eichels current contract will be Zibanejads next contract. Are you comfortable paying Zibanejad 10 mil a year?

      • Right James … this is not purely a question of Eichel’s present health. This is a near generational talent, who is young, unhappy and has been suppressed in Buffalo.

        I’m in the group that is in favor of taking a chance on him … provided there is a somewhat positive outlook on his future. But Buffalo must concede that his future is cloudy and make some serious concessions. Like partial salary retention.

      • Eichel is an injured player with a $10 million salary for the next 5 years. The last 4 years of his contract have a no movement clause. It would be the height of stupidity to acquire Eichel, get one year out of him, and then have him diminished by injury and become an immovable roster piece. Either way the Rangers can afford Eichel and Zibby on the squad next year.

        Eichel’s contract situation is not similar to Zibanejad at all. He is gonna make 53.5% of what Eichel makes next season, and in a flat cap league there is no way Zib will get $9 million a season on his next contract, never mind $10 million. No way, no how.

  • Barron would be tough to give up as they need him to start building a 4th line. I’d say a 1st, 3rd, Strome, Jones and maybe future 2nd or another prospect is a fair offer. Seems a bit crazy an NHL franchise would have a problem paying for surgery for it’s franchise player if it was going to correct things and get them a batter return.

  • Very interesting article and comments by Friedman. Eichel super talented injury aside. Even if the Rangers were able to get him at a discount – the contract is too much. We have seen what the “core” have done in Toronto – not much in playoffs. So Breadman at $11mln Z at $10mln Eichel at$10 min Trouba at $8mln Kreider at $6.5..and Buchy at $6.5mln?….how are they going to afford resigning Laffy kk kravtsov Fox et al.
    Rangers have talented wingers that can drive play. Which is an oddity in NHL – centers usually drive play. My two crappy cents is look for centers that can win face offs have size 6’2”+ 210+ and are willing to drive to the net and hit some bodies. Doesn’t have to be a sexy player
    like Eichel just someone solid. Let the talent on the wings create while the big center plants his body in front of the net or can bang a body in the corner. Add some size and grit to the left wing 4th line as well as 3rd pair LD…have Barron as 4th line center – now down the middle we’re a big team. Nothing against Strome just have to many of the same players. Chytl work in progress at center – has good size to build on.

  • I believe that the rehab period is over. Eichel has to decide if he is satisfied or take the case into arbitration. A panel of 3 doctors chosen by team and Players Assn. We’ll shortly see who blinks.

  • Interesting… that’s an unusual dispute between an athlete and a professional sports team: undergoing an elective surgery for the purpose of prolonging the player’s career. Can’t fault Eichel for having business sense to go along with his hockey sense! (P.S. Could Eichel have the cost of surgery deducted from his salary?)

    As for the Rangers, I would listen to Buffalo asking price quite intently. If the starting point is Strome and the #15 OA, wait & see until the draft arrives. If the D prospects (Lundkvist, Robertson, and Schneider) and Barron are off the table, then make the deal.

  • With a medical prognosis that is “somewhat” favorable I would offer Buffalo that trade package of the #15 pick and maybe Barron and Jones (or Robertson) with Strome only if the Sabres eat around 25 – 30% of Eichel’s contract. If, as Dave said, they won’t eat salary then forget it. I would even maybe add next year’s #2 plus another mid-level prospect if they consent to salary retention of the 30%.

    Eichel is a difference maker and I would take a chance on his recovery provided there is a decent outlook for his health.

  • Eichel is a great player and only 24, but haven’t we learned from Lafontaine and Lindros. Two great players who were essentially a hit away from retirement when we dealt for them.Although both put up numbers right away, Lafontaine lasted I have a season before his career ended buy an accidental him from his own teammate no less.Lindros two years before he suffered his 8thconcussion Missed the final 39 games the season and the Rangers let him go at the end of the year. I know it’s the shiny new toy, but buyer beware. Spend your assets Wisely and elsewhere

  • Do you know what the greatest ability is for any pro athlete?
    AVAILABILITY!
    Eichel with a neck injury doesn’t offer consistent availability. I wouldn’t trade a bag of pucks for him and his $10 mill cap hit, never mind players and picks! Teams with several high $$$ contracts NEVER win! Just look at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Is that really the model we want the Rangers to follow?
    NO to Eichel no matter how cheap!

  • If Dolan (and Sather? Drury?) was valuing / overvaluing the Islander games and such in determining that a new direction is needed, Eichel would not be on the team. He wouldn’t have helped the team win those games, is kind of more what they’re supposed to be trying to solve for…

  • Lol! You have already included 5 players in your proposal that you imply is a discount. Let me try

    So in all likelihood, this injury changes the dynamic of the trade package to our favor. Most likely scenario is

    1-Strome, Jones, Tarmo 2021 first rounder and a conditional 2022 2nd rounder that can become a first of Eichel plays a certain amount of games.

    2- or Chytil , Jones and Strome and a second next year. This is a discounted trade value given his injury concerns.

    Robertson is their best LHD prospect and a very good one. I don’t see him going in a discount type trade. If it’s for someone like Matt Tkachuk than yes.

    Nils in my view is available but only for an elite C

    Schneider is going nowhere as he is going to be a star!

    Barron could be moved in a package as a piece also for an elite player.

  • I wasn’t too keen on obtaining a healthy Eichel because of his cap hit and because of the acquisition cost in players. With his physical condition in question due to his herniated cervical disk I am even more skeptical even if the acquisition cost in a trade is reduced because he still would be paid $10 million and he still would have questions regarding his health. Until his neck injury is resolved in some manner and his prognosis becomes more clear I’d avoid him. I probably would avoid him even if healthy, but at least then it would not seem so risky.

  • Stay. Away.

    We tried this experiment with Lindros already. Lion for a day… gimme a break.

    Drury does this and I immediately lose faith in him as our GM. The guy is damaged goods, and that is only partly due to his injury.

    • Agree 100%. On top of being damaged goods, Eichel is a captain who can’t stop publicly whining about how bad his organization is.

      • Fair on the injury, bit give me a break on the captain stuff. His loyalty is to his teammates when on the ice and in the room, not to a disfunctional organization that doesn’t give two shits about him. Ryan O’Reilly whined his way out of Buffalo and won a Cup with St. Louis. Not first time that’s happened. Let’s get off our high horse on that aspect.

        • No high horse involved. Eichel is a classless captain, biting the hand that feeds him. He couldn’t figure out Buffalo was inept on his own, maybe in the next life he’ll get brains to go with his brawn.

  • This is potentially the perfect gamble on a franchise altering talent like Eichel.

    1. He’s a great player that plays a premium position who currently is injured.
    2. He possibly can be acquired with prospects and picks that will never play for the Rangers.
    3. Buffalo will make concessions hopefully retaining salary.
    4. There is only 5 years left on the contract which would be less than Zib’s term. We all seem to be forgetting that Mika is a health (concussion) risk too.
    AND…
    5. IF Eichel should suffer a career debilitating injury he can go on LTIR which would mitigate this gamble.

    This is a possible scenario that should Eichel get even a cautious prognosis that could work very well for the Rangers.

  • Lowball/hardball with a best-by-date to leave you other options.

    His injury, bad blood and contract in a flat cap put the Sabres in a bad position.

    I don’t understand LA Kings-Buff trade, LA has 2 excellent C prospects (Unless they are willing to trade them — a gamble)

  • Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, neither are you. I’m guessing that means you’re a psychic since you know that none of us are doctor’s or have a relative who can unequivocally give us the facts? Gotta love your bravado or is it stupidity?

  • I said before–unless Buffalo retains salary and is willing to take a joke offer–pass on Eichel.

    Trade for Bennett, sign Coleman and keep Chytil. Sign 2-3 quality grit/depth players like Barclay, Ritchie, Czikas, et al. and call it good.

    The Rangers don’t need to make any high stakes gambles. With their talent on the wing, on their D and in goal, decent centers are good enough. I wouldn’t sacrifice all their depth for a player who hasn’t really proved anything.

    • Agreed … 1 player won’t fix our problem, we need to retool the bottom 6 with hardnosed, heavy players — if one can drop the gloves in a heavyweight bout, even better.

      In the alternative the deal has to be Strome, our 1st and a prospect like Jones … moving guys like Chytil or Barron makes little sense … and Nils has too much good value to move for a question mark. Robertson and Schneider are specifically the type of players that we need more of …

  • Something I have not seen yet is what Buffalo wants/needs. I’ve seen only what we will offer. First piece not likely wanted by Buffalo is a Left handed dman. They have Dahlin and Samuelsson (32 overall in 2018….similar player to Robertson) with Ryan Johnson coming (31st overall in 2019). If they take Owen Power First overall, the left side is loaded. They’ll want a RHD and I doubt we move Nils or Braden. In goal they have UPL who they love so Georgie would serve simply as a back up. That leaves forwards….with Quinn, Cozens, Reinhardt (if they keep him) and Beniers (if they take him instead of Power)….I think they would want RHD and wingers in exchange for Eichel which could mean Buch in any deal…..here’s an idea for Buffalo….just a thought…what if Buffalo sent Eichel to Seattle for a second round pick on condition they take Jeff Skinner’s contract? Would free up $17M for a number of years off Buffalo’s hands.

    • The problem here is that Skinner could turn around next year and score 30+ goals … he’s a very up and down player who has always vacillated between almost being worth his contract to being an albatross around the neck of the team. You’re suggesting that Buffalo should trade two of their potentially best players for cap relief — instead they should look to max the return on Eichel for younger cost controlled players, then the cap has little influence on what they have to do.

  • Agreed. The constant clamor for trading this guy or for that guy ignores how much skill and potential the Rangers have on the roster that only needs to be harnessed. The right coach can make the youngsters truly hard to play against. Add in a couple of role players on the 4th line, another physical defenseman, and they would be odds on favorites to make the playoffs. Competing for the Cup would come soon thereafter as the players mature. Sacrificing for Eichel just does not make sense to me.

  • We’re paying for the surgery. No $$ off the $10 per yr. Teams are NOT lining up. Sabres/Eichel relationship is a mess. It’s a surgery never before performed on an NHL player.
    Sounds like a huge risk. Also sounds like they’re at the point where they actually need to trade Eichel.
    Why the hell would u even consider giving up any of our top young talent?
    I’m also not sure about giving up our #15 pick?
    If #15 is a must then it’s
    Strome and #15 for Eichel. We’ll consider next years 2nd rounder, if necessary.
    Take your time finding a better offer for a player about to have a spinal fusion.

  • There is no single sence for LA to trade for Eichel, even so I don’t believe Byfield will end up as a C, they have more then capable in a line Turcotte and Vilardy, and Kapitar is not that old at all, what they are realy realy missing is a D-corp since Daughty is past his prime and no other D’s at all + no ready premium wings at all.

    Therefore almost sure LA are not in a line for Eichel, they are definitely for Columbus Jones and Laine and probably Dumba from Minnesota.

  • Both hands and legs for Eichel, he is very very good, let him heal this summer, send Strome to Oil, get from those …. first round pick + something, send it with our #15 + whatever, anything but Fox, Chytil, Laf and close the deal, if they ready to ship us some 2nd round pick add there Georgy

  • at this point I think I rather have Strome than Eichel. I think a team like NJ or Islanders would make a lot more sense for Eichel trade.

    • NJ makes no sense for Eichel, they have Hughes and Hischier as 1&2 centers already. And the Isles are capped out. No chance Eichel ends up on either of these teams.

  • “Buffalo really doesn’t have a medical leg to stand on”???

    The study you linked to in the case at 2/3 of NFL players are able to return from such surgery and competed high level. That’s a 33 1/3% Press that he may not come back from the surgery to play at a high level, or may not come back at all.

    To ignore that risk is foolish.

  • Buffalo isn’t paying for anything more than eichels medical insurance which at most if 40k a year. The fact that it’s reported they’d want to trade him to not have to pay for the surgery is rediculous

  • If I was Eichel, I’d skip the risky surgery and take the entire 2021-22 season off. I hear it would take 6 months for the surgery to heal anyway. Then see what happens.

  • For anyone that’s curious as to what I have been saying in comparing Zib and Eichel’s underlying stats, go over to Blueshirt Banter and in the thread titled “Rangers sign Nils Lundkvist to ELC” a poster posted charts comparing the 2 players.

    It’s worth a look.

  • You don’t give up good healthy players to get someone who has a possible career ending injury. As much as I hate to say it, Eichel may be finished. Too high a cost to bring him here and I believe the Rangers will smartly pass. Just look at the war now going on in the Islanders -Bruin series to understand the risk Eichel may be taking if and when he returns.

  • Ah the trap of being a Ranger fan.

    We overvalue what we have as a team and then undervalue the individual pieces.

    we are one to two small moves away from being able to have a great season.

    The glaring need is a 2/3c that can win face offs and then go two way. A version of Brandon Dubinsky.

  • The only trade that would make any kind of sense is Howden for Eichel straight up
    Rangers have a ton of assets and much better ways to utilize them then trading for a problem case with a bad neck and a ten million dollar and pending NO MOVE CLAUSE albatross of a contract
    If the Rangers trade ANYTHING OF VALUE for Eichel they deserve ALL the ridicule for being a clown show organization.
    Remember that only a select few people seem to be pushing this idea that the Rangers need Eichel

  • Eichel probably did not play in 2021. I think, maybe Rangers send Buchnevitch to Calgary for Sean Monahan. Buchnevitch will be traded for sure, because next contract of Buch will be near 6 million. Rangers have a difficult to pay him. Rangers need to sign with Shesterkin. Maybe Rangers will sign with Alex Martinez and Martinook.

    • Eichel played in 21 games for Buffalo in 2021, scoring 2 goals with 16 assists for 18 points.

      Monahan is coming off hip surgery, if the Rangers trade Buchnevich for him that’ll be a terrible move. Monohan’s career is on a downward trend.

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