NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2021

by | Nov 2, 2021 | Rumors | 22 comments

Are the Golden Knights any closer to a deal with the Sabres for Jack Eichel? What could it cost the Flames to acquire him? Read on the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman spoke to Marek on Monday about the latest developments in trade talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and Buffalo Sabres regarding a possible deal for Jack Eichel.

Talks got “pretty hot” last week but then cooled. Friedman believes both sides know where they stand and what the issues are. If the Sabres aren’t going to retain any portion of Eichel’s salary, they’ll need to find a third team to help facilitate the deal. That might not be easy as you’d be asking that third team to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit for the next five years. He wondered what that’s worth to that club.

Friedman also said the talk of Eichel filing a grievance got pushed off last week. However, he’s not sure where that stands right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A deal involving a third team perhaps would’ve been done by now if Eichel only had a year or two left on his contract. Asking a club to pick up part of his $10 million annual cap hit for five years is another matter. That’s going to require more than just a first-round pick or a top prospect. It could cost a good young NHL player to be a sufficient sweetener.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

 THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington also noted the Sabres’ unwillingness to retain part of Eichel’s cap hit. Pointing out the growing number of Golden Knights players sidelined by injury (Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alex Tuch and William Karlsson), they could use long-term injury reserve to free up cap space for Eichel this season. However, they’ll have to become cap compliant when those players and Eichel return to the lineup later in the season.

Harrington speculates Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could be contemplating multiple deals. He pointed to NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes saying not to sleep on the Calgary Flames as a suitor. The Flames lack depth in prospects compared to the Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings but the Sabres’ strong start to this season could have Adams seeking more immediate help for his roster.

Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk is probably not in play. Harrington wonders if Elias Lindholm or Sean Monahan might be available. He also noted Flames VP of hockey operations Don Maloney was spotted at the Sabres’ recent games against the Ducks and Kings.

Harrington observes Adams isn’t under any pressure to move Eichel during the season until the center’s no-movement clause kicks in next July. Eichel could file a grievance but it’s not certain he’d win that with the Sabres’ position on his medical treatment supported by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time is on the Sabres side for now. That won’t be the case if we get to July and no deal has been found for Eichel. The 25-year-old center will then have more leverage over where he could be traded, though by that point he might not be too picky over where he goes.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked what assets she would give up if she were the Flames general manager. She considers Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane as untouchable. Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are likely “aged out” for the Sabres plus Gaudreau’s a pending UFA.

Salvian suggested Matthew Coronato, Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki and future first-round selections as potential tradeable assets for Eichel. Finding sufficient cap space for Eichel means shedding salary. She wondered if the Sabres would take Monahan as part of the return. Her proposed offer would be Monahan, Zary, Pelletier, a 2022 first-round pick and perhaps a prospect as a sweetener for accepting Monahan in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Complicating all this, of course, is how to shed sufficient salary to make this work. Cap Friendly shows the Flames just over $1 million in cap space for this season. Putting Monahan and his $6.375 million AAV in the deal certainly helps but they’ll need to include another salaried player or two or conduct a separate cost-cutting swap with another club. They could try packaging Monahan, Dube and Valimaki (combined $10.225 million) for Eichel but that risks depleting their roster depth.

Monahan, by the way, has a 10-team no-trade clause and might not be keen to join the Sabres. Lindholm ($4.85 million) lacks no-trade protection but the Flames would have to move even more salary in that scenario to make room for Eichel.


  1. Looks like regulars in here are suffering from PTEF (Post Traumatic Eichel Fatigue)

  2. Had read the Athletic article after posting and about in line with my thoughts, though Treliving would really have to be in win-now mode to ditch both Zary and Pelletier. Only reason for Monahan to waive is that he is currently on the ‘4th line’ and may want more playing time with better linemates. That said, he has stated that accepting 4th line minutes on a winning team is acceptable.

    I would love Eichel in a Flames jersey, but I just can’t see them putting together the best offer unless everyone else is throwing conditions on and they are willing not to.

    • And I see no way the Flames rid themselves of Lindholm. He is far too good a player for Calgary to lose even with Eichel coming back.

      • I agree Augustus. With Lindholm‘s contract and performance I would not trade him even up for an injured Eichel.

  3. Didn’t Karlsson break his foot? Thought I saw he’s out for 6 weeks. If Vegas ships out more roster players, how are they competing until everyone comes back?

    • @Slick With the injuries Vegas is dealing with they’re going to have a hard time competing until everyone gets back regardless of Eichel.

  4. If Eichel really is adamant about his stance, I think he actually has the stronger legal stance. I can not see the Supreme Court agreeing that a private company can mandate an invasive medical procedure (it would take years for this to get settled). That said, it gets very messy as to whether it is grounds to terminate Eichel’s contract, meaning he becomes a free agent; a nightmare scenario for Buffalo….unless this drags out beyond his playing prime (recovery included), still not ideal and a failed gamble but not the very worst case. Still think the best option is to get him his surgery, recovery, proof of recovery, and then trade him…..

    • Habsfan, I don’t know about Canada, but in the US, a contract that you willingly signed, is binding.

      No one held a gun to his head and forced him to sign it. He signed away his rights willingly.

      His legal team knows this, which is why they have not filed a grievance.

      Where would the case be heard?
      Any Canadian lawyers want to jump in?

    • nevinsrip

      Its the same here in Canada, not only is the contract binding but the CBA is binding.

      There are steps to take before going to the courts and it would be in the USA.

      Lawsuits between players, NHLPA, NHL and teams do occur but as several pundits have mentioned the CBA is clearly on Buffalo’s side.

      • To both of you: What you say is true BUT there are limits. You can not, in either country, sign away your rights to sue, for example, for negligence. You can not sign away your right to free speech. A lot of contracts have language that say effectively that. It is ammunition companies with much deeper pockets will use in court to da-rag things out and force their will. No gun to his head you say? Was he a free agent when he last signed, or was he still ‘property’ of the Sabers? No doubt the legal questions are massive and would take years (decades) to sort out and cost stupidly large buckets of money…..to all sides. Which is why I suggested the solution I did. No one is winning right now with Eichel in limbo.

  5. If you wish to know, how JE-saga ends, I can tell you:
    He’s traded to Tampa 3-4 months prior playoffs ->surgery->LTIR til PO game2->3rd in-a-row for the Lightning.

  6. who would have though an innocent, light body check by Casey Cizikas would have created so much drama?

  7. If it’s in the contract you (in theory) signed it

    Andersson is not aged out at 27
    Monahan is still on #1pp

    • Silverseven, Anderson is 25

  8. At the start of Eichel trade conjecturing, the Sabres were appropriately seen as trying to sell pyrite as gold. The continuous mention of teams having insufficient assets to acquire Eichel suggests the Sabres’ attempt is about to become successful. Often, proposed offers for him seem to be equivalent to what would be a fair price for the undamaged product.

  9. Eichel could have a legit grievance. Team has the right to choose procedure he gets but are supposed to consider 2nd opinions and 3rd party recommendations. At this point Eichel has seen multiple specialists and Buffalo appears to be sticking to the worse option knowing Eichel isn’t going to get the fusion surgery. They seem content to let insurance pay him to sit out.

  10. From the MOU of the CBA:

    “A Player is entitled to obtain a second medical opinion from a physician(s) of his choice who is not on the Second Medical Opinion List and has not received advance approval from the Club as set out in Subsection 34.4(c) … The costs of such opinion shall be borne by the Player … The Club Physician shall determine the diagnosis or course of treatment (including the timing thereof) after considering any report or other records received from the Player’s physician and after giving due consideration to their recommendations.”

    In other words he has no case.

    • That depends. Just like in labor law, just because you agreed to something in a contract doesn’t make it binding if it violates any labor laws.

      Not sure what the laws are on having the surgery of your choice but I am sure there is some legal maneuvering that could take place in regards to who really has the right to say what is best.

    • I get the argument Flying V, but Eichel isn’t an employee. You’re right that an employer can get an employee to sign an employment contract, and even if the employee signs it doesn’t mean it is enforceable if it violates provincial law. And some do with regards to capping severance etc.

      Again – usually the team and the player are aligned, so this doesn’t come up that often.

      Part of me wants would like to see it challenged just because it is interesting because of the point you bring up. Doubt it will though as it does seem like a long shot. Can’t see Eichel rolling the dice.

      • Yeah, I get that his situation is different. My main point was that a signed contract isn’t always binding. I just used that as an example where it is not. I was only suggesting that just because he has signed a contract it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no legal way to address it.

      • Agreed Flying V

  11. 4 assets equivalent of first rounders is fair value for a 100% JE, an injured one with unknown capacity after surgery is not. As is, I would never give 4 assets