The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the teams constantly mentioned in the Jack Eichel trade discussions. So far there has been no movement, but is Jack Eichel the right fit?
The Vegas Golden Knights have yet again been mentioned as the top team to land star center, Jack Eichel, from the Buffalo Sabres. With all the injuries that have plagued the Knights thus far into the season, it’s easy to overreact and say they need to get the star player-Which is true. However, Jack Eichel isn’t recovering from surgery, he is still hurt and would still need to get the surgery to repair his herniated disk and then rehab over the season. So the question needs to be asked: Is Jack Eichel the right fit for the Knights?
How Jack Eichel Would Effect the Knight’s
Jack Eichel has been a phenomenal player ever since entering the league in 2015. After being drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres, only second too Connor McDavid, it’s safe to say that experiment did not work out well. Ever since coming into the league, Eichel has been the only attraction for Buffalo fans. It’s been one never-ending, long-lasting, horrendous roller coaster.
Now, it seems as though his time in Buffalo is going to officially come to an end. There has been a rumor circulating around the internet that the Knights are considered the top team to trade for him, but there are some other teams interested. On top of the Vegas Knights, it appears that the Calgary Flames are also considered a possible suitor for the star center. However, if the Knights were to trade for him, how would he fit?
Eichel has always been considered a playmaker over a scorer, which does fit the center criteria. For those of you who follow the Knights closely, you know that the weakest part of the Knights is the lack of star-power at the center position. If you look at other power-house teams around the league, most of them have a star center to protect the middle part of the ice, but the Knights don’t really have that. Now, since Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty went down against the Los Angeles Kings, Chandler Stephenson has stepped up big time. However, Stephenson still isn’t near as dangerous as Eichel is. You can also look at the original second line center, William Karlsson, and the same thing remains, he’s not near as dangerous as Jack Eichel from a production standpoint.
Jack Eichel’s production has always been something that people hold to a high standard. Now there are some people that may have one good season, but aren’t talented enough to stay consistent, Eichel is not that type of player. Eichel, since coming into the league in 2015 has played in 375 total games. In those 375 games he has scored 139 goals, and recorded 216 assists for 355 total points. As you can see, in his career, he’s almost averaging a point per game which is absolutely incredible. No matter how good he was offensively, he also proved to have some defensive value as well. Defensively he’s also recorded pretty respectable numbers with 203 blocks, 251 hits, and 205 takeaways.
What he would potential add to the Knights would be a high scoring, great playmaker with defensive upside. He also does fit the Knights timeline as they look to finally win the Stanley Cup.
The Vegas Golden Knights have not been immune to injuries by any stretch of the imagination-IN fact, it’s been the complete opposite. Losing, what feels like, a player per game doesn’t set the best precedent. However, when the team return’s to healthy later on in the season it could make for a strong push to the playoffs. That same thing could make Jack Eichel a prime trade candidate.
There are a lot of problem’s that would arise from trading for Jack Eichel that I will discuss in this article, but we’ll just start with the injury. The biggest thing you need to know when it comes to trading for Jack Eichel is the fact that he is currently hurt and waiting to get permission from the Sabres to get the surgery. So with that, if or when the Knights trade for him, he’d still have to get the surgery and go through rehab to recover. That process could take some time and it’s not even guaranteed that he’d be ready to go by the end of the season. And just for the heck of it, say that he is good to go by the playoffs, how would he do when he’d barely played with any of his line-mates? Would they even trust him in the lineup with no chemistry built up with some of the people he’d be playing with? I’m not so sure.
The Knights currently somehow, someway, have $5,750,000 available cap according to CapFriendly. However, Jack Eichel’s contract is structured to pay him $10,000,000 AAV. With that being the case, the Knights would have to find a way to get rid of roughly $4,250,000. So with that they’d likely look to move a player or two in that trade to make room for Eichel’s contract. So who would they have to move in order to get enough cap space for Eichel?
There are currently a couple players who they could look to move, but it comes down to what position they feel most comfortable moving. If it’s me, and taking into account the contract structures, they could do one of two things.
First, they could look to move wing, Jonathan Marchessault. Marchessault is currently making $5,000,000 AAV which does clear enough cap for them to obtain 100% of Eichel’s contract. However, trading Marchessault along with multiple other prospects and/or picks, may not be worth it which brings me to their second possible option.
Next, they could look to move Mattias Janmark and Brayden McNabb. Mattias Janmark is a very important player for the Knights but this season hasn’t seen much time on the ice. Moving Janmark’s contract for a late-round draft pick could give them the chance to move a player who hasn’t done much to help them this season. As far McNabb, they have a lot of depth at the defensive position. Moving McNabb could actually give the Knights a chance to give their younger defenseman more consistent minutes on the ice to see what they have in them. When given inconsistent minutes on the ice, it’s hard to really gauge just how good or bad they are.
The Knights have a lot to consider about possibly trading for Jack Eichel. Obviously, as you can see from above, there are a lot of concerns that come from trading for him. However, with the Knights looking to add a top tier center to help add an extra scorer, Eichel does fit the bill.
What do you guys think? Should they target Jack Eichel? If not, who would you prefer them to target?