Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported last week the Buffalo Sabres were believed to have re-engaged with teams interested in Jack Eichel. Vegas Hockey Now’s Steve Carp felt the Golden Knights should be in the mix if they aren’t already.
The Golden Knights were linked to Eichel in the off-season rumor mill. Pointing out their obvious need for a bonafide No.1 center, Carp believes the 24-year-old Sabres captain would be a better fit than Chandler Stephenson or William Karlsson.
Carp acknowledged the concerns over the herniated disc in Eichel’s neck and the impasse between him and Sabres doctors over which medical procedure he should undergo. Nevertheless, he felt Eichel’s youth gives him a good chance for a full recovery. Acquiring him would also provide the Golden Knights with a superstar who can help them win the Stanley Cup.
The cost, however, would be expensive. Noting the Golden Knights’ limited cap space and Eichel’s $10-million annual average value, Carp suggested offering up Rielly Smith or Jonathan Marchessault ($5- million AAV each) or currently sidelined winger Alex Tuch ($4.75 million). He also estimated the Sabres would want a top prospect like Peyton Krebs and first-and-second round picks over the next two or three seasons.
On July 27, The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy tweeted the Sabres’ asking price was Smith, Krebs, defenseman Nicolas Hague and a first-round pick. Whether that still stands or has changed is anyone’s guess right now.
The Golden Knights have made big moves before, acquiring Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone and signing Alex Pietrangelo. Rolling the dice on Eichel wouldn’t be out of character for them but this gamble would carry considerably more risk given his health and contract.