Sabres Jack Eichel during a faceoff against his new rumored team in the Vegas Golden Knights
Ok Golden Knights Nation. We maybe in the city of Las Vegas, but the Knights may be adding the Eichel Tower to their lineup. No, it’s not the actual landmark from Paris, France, but he was Buffalo’s royalty. Now he is Buffalo’s disgruntled franchise player. Rumors have been building up since the end of this past NHL’s Covid year, that Star hockey center Jack Eichel who wants to leave the Buffalo Sabres because he is frustrated with team management over the disagreement of how to fix the herniated disc in his neck.
How The Legend of the Eichel Tower began
John (Jack) Eichel was born on October 28, 1996 in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts to parents Anne and Bob Eichel. He grew up playing hockey, and began his claim to fame with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program during the 2012-2013 season. In 2013-2014, Eichel started to earn national attention when he was named to the United States Hockey League Second All Star Team.
At the age of only 17, sports media pundits painted Eichel as, “the new face of American Hockey”, among other prominent stars like current Detroit Red Wings Center and 2014 first round draft pick Dylan Larkin. He is also considered to be one of the many generational talents and has been often judged against now currently the best player in hockey. He is Canadian-born turned Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, who was drafted number-one overall in 2015, followed by Eichel at number two.
So Vegas, what might y’all possibly be earning if y’all trade for the former number two overall pick away from the Sabres. Well, before his injury fiasco, Eichel bursted onto the NHL scene in 2015-2016 when he scored 24 goals in 81 games in his rookie year. His first one came in the first game against the Ottawa Senators, but the Senators won 3-1. So if you want to trade for the, “Eichel Tower”, there are some challenges and concerns.
High Asking Price
Because of his stellar play with the Buffalo Sabres, Eichel was rewarded a hefty payday, signing an eight year, $80 million contract extension worth $10 million a year. Since then, he has not played as well as he would like to be now earning a full stay with a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2010-2011 season, when Eichel was just 14 years old. The Knights have been clinging onto pursuing Eichel since he’s been signaling his potential end in Buffalo.
Now, reports are coming out that the Golden Knights aren’t willing to cave into Eichel’s contract due to the Sabres not permitting the Massachusetts Native to get the artificial disk replacement surgery he wants rather than the Sabres wish for neck fusion surgery. Which leads to the next question, ‘What in the world is going on with this utter mishap?’
Eichel’s injury issue all started when Sabres fans and other NHL fans wondered why Eichel was in-out of the Sabres lineup every night during the shortened 2021 NHL season due to COVID-19. He started out the season fine, playing his consistent style of hockey, even though the team started out poorly. It resulted in head coach Ralph Krueger being fired very early in the year. Then, Interim head coach Don Grato took over behind the bench and the team started playing better minus having Eichel in the lineup.
The main issue why Eichel that is being mentioned in trade rumors is the fact that he won’t get the neck fusion surgery that the Sabres want for his herniated disk injury. He wants to get artificial disc replacement surgery, but the conflict is between Eichel either getting a surgery that would be performed for the first time ever, or having the surgery, and never possibility playing hockey again. The other alternative is the Sabres letting Eichel get his own surgery, so he can take care of himself and GM Kevin Adams can focus on the product being put on the ice right now.
Huge Demand for Peyton Krebs
Rumors are swirling around that if Eichel does get traded to the Golden Knights, then the Sabres reportedly would want 2019 first round pick Peyton Krebs. The Knights, however, want to retain Krebs, as the 20-year-old had a fantastic debut with the franchise. Vegas Head Coach Pete Debor said after that he has, “a good reputation in the organization.” The Sabres will likely acquire a center for Eichel, so if Krebs is off the table, Nolan Patrick or Jake Leschyshyn could be expendable for Vegas, but that would certainly mean blowing salary cap space by giving up multiple draft picks.
The Future for the Eichel Tower
It is doubtful that we will see Eichel in a NHL jersey in the near future, as he wants his neck surgery. But if he gets his way, we may see him in 2022-23, depending on which team picks him up and how long his recuperation time takes.
Eichel scored 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 games.
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