This morning, it was announced by the Buffalo Sabres that Jack Eichel will not be available due to an upper-body injury. With this injury possibly being longer than originally expected, the media is now all over the possibility of Eichel being traded. There is no clarification at this time whether or not Eichel might've played his last game in a Sabres jersey, although I highly doubt the Sabres are shopping him currently.
Eichel may have caught a severe case of get-me-out-of-Buffalo-itis, maybe the same kind that Ryan O'Reilly caught in 2018. It will be extremely difficult for the Sabres to move Eichel mid-season without getting a truckload back. There are four teams so far that are listed as the potential trade destinations for Eichel; Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, and the New York Rangers. This seriously makes you wonder what a team needs to give up, here I list five potential trades for Eichel.
Trade 1: Calgary
Calgary receive: (F) Jack Eichel
Buffalo receives: (F) Matthew Tkachuk, (F) Sam Bennet, (D) Connor Mackey, and 2021 1st Round Pick
The Calgary trade makes little sense in my mind, Calgary is in the middle of yet another disappointing run in their season. They're currently the second team this year to make a coaching change, I don't think the Flames are in the market to shake up their current roster. If the trade deadline rolls around and they're still in the current slump, they could make the run for a player like Eichel, if he's available.
Trade 2: Edmonton
Edmonton receive: (F) Jack Eichel
Buffalo receives: (F) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins [50% retained,] (F) James Neal, (D) Caleb Jones, 2021 1st Round Pick, 2022 2nd Round Pick, 2023 Conditional 3rd Round Pick
The Edmonton Oilers are a funny team this year, on paper they should be so much better than they are. The team's center core should be McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge, but they're trying to load up their top-6. For Buffalo to receive Nuge without him guaranteed to be resigning, it would make the trade all the riskier. Unlike the Calgary trade, Edmonton giving up what is listed would bring a guaranteed powerhouse down the middle. This would allow the Oilers to play Draisaitl/McDavid together and put Eichel with a guy like Yamamoto and Puljujarvi. A conditional pick would be dependant on where the Oilers end up in the playoffs, transferring a 2023 3rd if they miss playoffs, a 2023 2nd if they make playoffs, or a 2023 1st if they win the Stanley Cup during the acquisition year of Eichel. Trading Neal would be a cap balancer, which could also work out for Buffalo as it gives them a veteran player to work with. Edmonton's depth is still extremely suspect but this could bring the opportunity for the team to roll out a 3-line system as 3 first-lines. Just imagine that a 3-line system in Edmonton could make Edmonton's gameday lineup look like this;
Draisaitl - McDavid - Kassian
Yamamoto - Eichel - Puljujarvi
Khaira - Ennis - Chiasson
Kahun - Haas - Turris
Puljujarvi - McDavid - Kassian
Chiasson - Draisaitl - Yamamoto
Khaira - Eichel - Ennis
Kahun - Haas - Archibald
McDavid, Draisaitl, and Eichel have made guys who play depth roles play top-6 roles. If Edmonton were to acquire Eichel, they would have to play their cards right, the McDavid/Draisaitl/Eichel tandem in Edmonton would last the better part of 5-years, and we can only imagine that.
Trade 3: Los Angeles
LA receive: (F) Jack Eichel
Buffalo receives: (F) Quinton Byfield, (F) Jeff Carter, 2021 1st Round Pick [LA,] and 2021 2nd Round Pick [STL]
This is a trade that makes me kind of laugh, I've seen so many people overvalue Byfield and undervalue Eichel. Both are star talent, except one is established and stuck in Buffalo. You could also add the signing rights to Andreas Athanasiou, but he's very patchy. Jeff Carter is a veteran in the league on the second last year of his current deal. Carter doesn't have a modified NTC or a full NMC. I still feel like this trade is not enough for Buffalo to take even with Byfield in the deal. A trade with Eichel going to LA just doesn't make sense.
Trade 4: New York Rangers
Rangers receive: (F) Jack Eichel
Buffalo receives: (F) Kaapo Kakko, (F) Pavel Buchnevich [signing rights,] (D) Anthony DeAngelo, (G) Keith Kinkaid, 2021 1st Round Pick, 2021 3rd Round Pick, and 2022 conditional 2nd Round pick.
The Rangers are the second team on this list that makes sense for Eichel to end up, the Rangers have a great number of assets to outbid any and every team on the hunt for Eichel. They could use one of their own lottery drafted players like Lafreniere or Kakko in the deal. Cap space is not a problem for the Rangers, they currently have $1.3 million in a bonus cushion penalty and nearly $9 million in buyouts coming off the books next year. Panarin's absence may push the Rangers to grab a solidified young centerman in Jack Eichel, who has 6-years left on his current deal.