The Jack Eichel trade rumors have been circling for over a year now, and it appears as thought it’s only a matter of time before it happens this offseason.
It’s no secret that there has been a ‘disconnect’ between Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres management for a while. And as the team continues to lose on the ice, Jack Eichel is only going to continue to want out of Buffalo more and more.
On Thursday, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman revealed that he believes the Sabres are finally ready to ‘move on’ from Jack Eichel this offseason.
— WGR 550 (@WGR550) June 10, 2021
The next question becomes: which teams make the most sense to land Jack Eichel?
Let’s take a look at five potential options.
Top 5 candidates to land Jack Eichel
1. New York Rangers
Of course, the Rangers fans have been clamoring for their team to make the push for Jack Eichel for a while now. But does it make sense?
Sure, why not. The Rangers have a good nucleus centered around Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, etc.
However, they have some pending contract issues with RFA’s Adam Fox, Kakko, and Vitaly Kravtsov. If the Rangers take on Jack Eichel’s $10 million cap hit, they would lose out on a lot of wiggle room with roster flexibility. For a player like Eichel, though, it might be worth it.
2. Anaheim Ducks
It’s no secret that for the Anaheim Ducks to make the next push into contention, they’d need to make a splash this offseason. Jack Eichel would definitely be that splash.
The Ducks have $22.5 million in cap space this offseason, which will go a long way considering the cap will likely not be moved too much due to the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anaheim also has an intriguing prospect pool for Buffalo to choose from–should the Ducks make a move. And there’s reason to believe they will. GM Bob Murray was reportedly in discussions for Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine before they were ultimately traded for each other.
Eichel would allow the Ducks to move veteran Ryan Getzlaf off the first line, and he would be the piece that ultimately speeds up their rebuild exponentially.
3. Los Angeles Kings
Sure, the L.A. Kings have reportedly been laying off their interest of Jack Eichel.
— Forever Blueshirts (@4EverBlueshirts) June 9, 2021
They may not be in active discussions at the moment, and may be scared off by the neck injury. But I have a hard time believing that Los Angeles is completely out on Jack Eichel after reports indicated they were making moves for him in the past.
The Kings were slightly better than expectations this season, and it seems like they’ll be trying to make the next step next season. Jack Eichel would take them there.
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4. Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild were very good this season, Jack Eichel would make them great.
A large reason why the Wild finished third in the West Division was rookie Kirill Kaprizov, who finished with 51 points in 55 games. If you pair Kaprizov with Jack Eichel, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun has pointed out just how deadly that would be for the entire league.
— SKOR North (@SKORNorth) May 12, 2021
The Wild also have an extra pick in the first and third rounds from the Jason Zucker trade from a year ago, and they could use them as chips for a potential Eichel deal.
The only issue with Eichel going to Minnesota is that Buffalo would probably need some NHL-ready players in return, and I’m not sure Minnesota would want to part ways with difference-makers who pushed them to a competitive season.
They also have to keep in mind that contract extensions for Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson-Ek are looming.
It would be tough for Minnesota to make it work financially, but Jack Eichel to the Wild would instantly turn the team into Stanley Cup contenders.
5. Boston Bruins
I was in between the Coyotes, Flames, and Bruins here. But decided to have a little fun.
After the Bruins lost their playoff series to the Islanders on Wednesday night, it was clear that they might need to start thinking about getting younger. Not only would Jack Eichel allow them to do that, but he’d be a great fit, and Boston will have the cap space to work with if they let David Krejci, Jaroslav Halak, and Sean Kuraly walk in the offseason.
The big issue with a potential Bruins trade is that the team doesn’t necessarily have the young assets to send back to Buffalo. Would they be willing to part ways with David Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy? Probably not, especially given the neck issues Eichel battled all year long.
Obviously, many teams will be pushing to land a player of Jack Eichel’s caliber, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Buffalo starts their asking price higher than anyone is willing to go.
If the Sabres are intent on trading Jack Eichel, it might not happen until closer to Draft Day.