Can the Wild win a bidding war for Sabers star Jack Eichel?
The Wild have needed a No.1 center throughout their 20-year franchise history, so it makes sense that there is speculation that they could be a perfect Buffalo trading partner for Jack. Eichel.
Eichel, 24, is a former No. 2 overall pick who scored 36 goals in the 2019-20 season shortened by COVID. But he’s been out since March 7 with a neck injury, which follows many other issues in an injury-plagued season with the Sabers. And on Tuesday, he made it as clear as possible that he wasn’t very interested in staying in Buffalo.
“I’ve been a little upset with the way things have been handled since I got injured,” Eichel said on team media day. “I would be lying to say that things have gone smoothly since my injury. So, yeah, there was a bit of a disconnect, I think, between the organization and myself. It was sometimes difficult.
“Right now, for me, I think the most important thing is just to try to be healthy and find a way to be available to play hockey next year, wherever. is.
It’s unclear if the Sabers plan to trade Eichel as he has five years and $ 50m left on his contract, but given that he has a full no-move clause in his contract as of July. 2022, the pressure is on Buffalo to move as soon as possible. therefore Eichel does not control his own market.
Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun writes, “I think the Wild makes a lot of sense and they have the parts to do it.”
The Wilds have the parts, but as Athletic’s Michael Russo points out, taking Eichel’s average annual salary of $ 10 million would require GM Bill Guerin to trade “lucrative salaries in other movements or for Buffalo to acquire. some of the big guys from Minnesota in a blockbuster. package.”
Russo, by the way, began his column by saying that it is likely that Guerin “started investigating” business possibilities for Eichel “weeks ago”.
LeBrun has spoken to seven members of the NHL’s front offices and the majority of them believe it will take a lot to get Eichel, and there is potential for a bidding war.
A front office executive speculated in LeBrun that it could cost a team a first-round pick, a young NHL player and a top center prospect. The Wild have two first-round picks in the 2021 NHL Draft – theirs and Jason Zucker’s Pittsburgh pick – in addition to center prospects Marco Rossi (2020 first-round pick) and Marat Khusnutdinov (2020 second-round pick) .
Minnesota clearly has young talent on the roster, so as LeBrun says, Guerin should have the ammunition to put together a decent bid for Eichel. But Guerin would probably have to part ways with hugely valuable choices and perspectives.
So, in which direction will Guérin go? Or get aggressive and trade for Eichel to see what he could do alongside Kirill Kaprizov on the top line?
Time will tell us.