Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel has made it known he wants out.
And Eichel would have no problem with his Buffalo exit leading him back to Massachusetts, the North Chelmsford native revealed in an interview with Boston 25’s Sara Underwood last Friday.
“Yeah, I think every kid grows up dreaming of playing for their hometown team,” Eichel told Underwood when asked about a potential move to Boston. “Whether that happens now or later in my career. If it ever happens, it would be pretty cool.”
Under contract at a heavy $10 million per season through 2025-26, Eichel’s trade request comes following an injury-shortened 2021 campaign and with questions about the severity of the neck injury Eichel suffered and what it means for this future. But the Sabres are still (and understandably) seeking a haul in return for the 24-year-old center, with one report indicating that the Sabres are seeking “at least four assets that would be equivalent of first-rounders.”
Some of the teams mentioned as possible favorites for Eichel, who scored a career-best 36 goals in 2019-20, include the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers among others. The Bruins are certainly behind those clubs (and others) in terms of young, movable and desirable assets, but remain one of the betting favorites for Eichel.
It should be of the utmost importance to the Sabres to maximize the potential return and move the disgruntled Eichel before his no-move clause kicks in next year, too, as that would allow him to by all means pull a Taylor Hall and force his way to his desired destination, which clearly includes the Bruins. (The prospect of losing two trades to a division rival because of no-move clauses would be an almost automatic firing for Buffalo general manager Kevyn Adams.)
Drafted by the Sabres with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, Eichel has been productive when healthy, with 139 goals and 355 points in 375 games with Buffalo, but is truly in who-possibly-knows territory when it comes to his next stop, and he knows it.
“Who knows what’s going to happen here in the next little bit,” Eichel offered.
The Bruins enter the 2021 offseason with over $30 million in projected cap space.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.