Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel could consider filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association to force a resolution to his standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. He speculates that could happen within the next couple of weeks if he’s not traded before then.
Eichel’s been sidelined since March with a herniated disc in his neck. He wants to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery but Sabres doctors prefer neck fusion. The NHL CBA gives the team the final say on medical treatment. The 24-year-old center requested a trade but this stalemate has complicated efforts to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The subject of a grievance was raised by Friedman and others last week. Most observers doubt that move will go Eichel’s way because the CBA gives the Sabres’ the last word on his medical treatment.
Jeff Marek reports New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury seeks a top prospect in exchange for unhappy winger Vitali Kravtsov, who recently returned home to Russia awaiting a trade. Marek said Drury isn’t budging from that asking price right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Rangers off to a terrific start, Drury can set that price because he’s under no pressure to move Kravtsov right now. That might change if injuries start depleting the Rangers’ depth. Ryan Strome (COVID protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (upper-body injury) are currently out of the lineup but that hasn’t adversely affected the club’s performance.
Drury could also set that price knowing no one will pay it. That could force Kravtsov to have a change of heart and return to the Rangers.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently took note of the Arizona Coyotes using Phil Kessel on their top power-play unit instead of defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They could be showcasing the 34-year-old winger for a trade but could also be trying to get him up to speed after missing all of training camp and preseason play with an injured foot. Morgan also observed 15 scouts who attended the Coyotes’ recent game against the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel will be moved at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. A free agent next July, he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans and he wants a change of scenery. Trading him early in the season, however, will be difficult.
The Coyotes carry $6.8 million of his $8 million cap hit. Even with $5 million of his actual $6 million salary for this season paid out in a signing bonus, few clubs have sufficient room to add his cap hit at this point in the season.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Coyotes center Barrett Hayton also came up in trade speculation this week. The fifth-overall selection in the 2018 draft, Hayton is currently playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson.
Hayton’s agent Pat Morris shot down rumors his client asked for a trade. Marek said it looks like he’ll be staying with the Coyotes as head coach Andre Tourigny thinks highly of him. Tourigny made Hayton the captain of Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors.