Vegas Golden Knights should look to rescue Eichel from Buffalo hell

Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up prior to action against the Toronto Maple Leafs.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up prior to action against the Toronto Maple Leafs.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Henri Jokiharju #10 of the Buffalo Sabres looks on as Jack Eichel #9 celebrates his third goal of the game.
Henri Jokiharju #10 of the Buffalo Sabres looks on as Jack Eichel #9 celebrates his third goal of the game. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images) /

Why It Wouldn’t Work

For starters, there probably would be some concern from the front office over committing a hefty chunk of the salary cap to another superstar.

As mentioned in the previous slide, Jack Eichel is currently in year two of an eight-year, $80,000,000 contract with an Average Annual Value of $10,000,000.

While the 23-year-old is rapidly proving that he’s worth every dollar of that, the Golden Knights would be committed to just under $30 million ($27,400,000 to be precise) on five forwards if they pulled the trigger on a stunning trade for Eichel.

That is a lot of money on just five forwards to commit to, although if you are in your win-now window you may as well go for it.

There is a bigger issue at hand here, however.

The price the Golden Knights would have to pay.

As already mentioned, Eichel is bordering on a generational talent and he’s only going to get better given that he is only 23.

When looking at what he’s done already from an individual standpoint, compared to what he could do with better pieces and a better support system around him, then the ceiling is sky-high for the center.

As a result, the Buffalo Sabres are going to want a king’s ransom back in return.

And so they should.

Not only is Eichel the Captain of the Sabres but he is also the face of the franchise, the savior that was meant to spearhead that organization towards brighter days.

So if Eichel wants out it will be his decision and not Buffalo’s, which means if they are forced into giving up their biggest asset, they will want a hell of a package back in return.

Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres gets fist bumps from the bench after scoring the game's opening goal.
Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres gets fist bumps from the bench after scoring the game’s opening goal. (Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images) /

What would that package look like?

It is hard to predict right now given that this is just a hypothetical, but it will be a lot more substantial than the high-end prospect and the Second-Round pick the Golden Knights sent to the Ottawa Senators for Mark Stone at the 2019 Trade Deadline.

A comparable of sorts could be the Eric Lindros trade on June 20, 1992 when the Philadelphia Flyers sent an absolute monster package, featuring two First-Round picks and stars such as Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci to The Nordiques for Lindros.

Using that as a slight but very loose guide, the Golden Knights would absolutely have to package up a couple of First-Round picks, in addition to a couple of high-end prospects and a proven performer in the NHL.

Given where the Golden Knights are with the core they have constructed, they may be loathe to rob Peter in order to pay Paul, and leveraging more of the future for one player might be the sticking point.

On the flip side, we have seen how desperate Owner Bill Foley is for a Stanley Cup and, if we get a couple of years down the line with the Vegas Golden Knights still without a championship and Jack Eichel becomes available, then things will get real interesting.

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Again, this is just a fun exercise and it isn’t based on any inside knowledge or anything like that, but it will be interesting to see how the situation involving Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres develops going forward.

The Vegas Golden Knights, along with the rest of the NHL, will no doubt be keeping a close and keen eye on any developments in Western New York.