NHL Rumor Mill – June 11, 2020
Updates on Jack Eichel and Braden Holtby in today’s NHL rumor mill.
EICHEL, SABRES MANAGEMENT SHARE FRUSTRATION
THE SCORE: Matt Teague cited Jack Eichel’s recent interview with TSN’s Darren Dreger affirming he and Buffalo Sabres management are on the same page over the club’s lack of progress. The Sabres captain spoke with general manager Jason Botterill and head coach Ralph Krueger, saying they understand and share his frustration. Eichel also said he wasn’t the only one expressing that opinion, only he was a little blunter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s remarks last month over the club’s constant losing prompted some observers to suggest he could end up on the trade block or Botterill could listen to offers. I believe that’s just wishful thinking…for now.
The Sabres have no intention of trading their franchise player. He’s the foundation piece upon whatever future success rests.
Eichel won’t be traded unless he asks for it and there’s no indication he wants out. That could change in two or three years, however, if the Sabres remain mired in mediocrity.
HOLTBY FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURE
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan recently reported on the uncertainty facing Braden Holtby and his fellow unrestricted free agents in the off-season caused by the coronavirus. The 30-year-old goaltender seemed destined to hit the open market, but Regan wondered if there’s an opportunity now for the two sides to work out a deal. “To be honest I have no clue,” Holtby said when asked about his future status as a UFA.
Regan doubts Holtby will sign a one-year contract in hopes of getting a better deal following next season. The Capitals’ future starter, Ilya Samsonov, is already on the roster. Regan doubts the Caps would bring back Holtby as their starter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There been a sense this season that Holtby and the Capitals would party company. This is his first time eligible for UFA status and he reportedly intends to make the most of it.
Holtby’s completing a five-year deal with an annual average value of $6.1 million. As a former Vezina Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion, Holtby feels he’s in line for significant pay raise.
The Caps, meanwhile, have over $71 million already invested in 16 players for 2020-21. Even if they re-signed Holtby to a hometown discount on a one-year deal, it would leave them with little to fill out the rest of the roster.