Jack Eichel Traded To Vegas In Blockbuster Trade

Carter Bentivenga, Managing Editor

The stalemate between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel has finally been broken. A trade has been made, and Eichel is now a member of one of the NHL’s newest franchises. 

The trade call was made on Wednesday night, and announced by several notable hockey insiders early Thursday morning. Eichel is now a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. Officially, the trade will read Eichel and a 2023 conditional third-round pick headed to the Vegas strip and Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a conditional first-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2023 headed back to Buffalo. It’s also important to note that a) Buffalo didn’t have to retain any of Eichel’s $10-million salary in this deal, and b) the 2022 first-rounder is top-10 protected, which means that if the pick winds up being either 10th or higher, Vegas retains the rights to it. 

 

 

Another important detail worth noting is that the dispute between the Sabres and Eichel was due to a disagreement over which surgical procedure was better to mend a herniated disk in Eichel’s neck. The idea was that Eichel could take the non-surgical route at first in order to rehab, but it became obvious that wasn’t an option. Eichel and his camp were supporting disk replacement surgery (placing an artificial disk in his neck), while the team and its medical staff were vying for the anterior cervical discectomy (usually involves removing the impacted disk and fusion (ACDF) by placing a bone graft where the disc was). The issue was that the disk replacement, while providing more mobility after having it done, had never been performed on an NHL player before. It also didn’t help Eichel’s case in that under the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), teams had the final say when it comes to the treatment of injuries.

The dispute definitely deteriorated rapidly. The Sabres wound up stripping Eichel of his captaincy before the start of the 2021-22 season, and it took eight months for general manager Kevyn Adams to pull the trigger on a trade.

 

Eichel’s last game was Mar. 7, 2021, against the New York Islanders.

 

Now, he has a fresh start. Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon has already confirmed that Eichel will get his desired surgery soon, and the hope is he can be back on the ice in four months. Of course, there’s always a risk when it comes to surgery… but if Vegas gets the Jack Eichel that dominated in Buffalo, they’re in for a treat. This could be the first time the Golden Knights have an elite first-line center, and one of the best young stars in the game to boot.

Eichel, 25, was drafted second overall by the Sabres in 2015 out of Boston University. He recorded 355 points in 375 career regular season games, and served as Sabres captain for parts of three seasons (2018-19 to 2020-21). He also has yet to play in a game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The hope is that he can do that very soon in Vegas, as they have made the postseason in every season of their four year existence to date. 

Based on this post coming from Eichel’s Twitter, it’s safe to say he’s excited to become a Golden Knight. Now, we wait for the newest Vegas Golden Knight to hit the ice with his new team.