Sabres Trade Jack Eichel To The Golden Knights

by | Nov 4, 2021 | News, NHL, Rumors | 43 comments

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Buffalo Sabres have traded Jack Eichel and a third-round pick in 2023 to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a first-round pick in 2022 and a third-round pick in 2023 pending a trade call with the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At long last, the Eichel trade watch is finally over. He wound up going where I suspected he would. The Golden Knights have long lacked a true first-line center and Eichel should address that need once he returns from disc replacement surgery sometime in February following the Olympic break.

Why are the Golden Knights making this move for a player they won’t have in the lineup until February? Their struggling start due to key players like Tuch, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and William Karlsson being sidelined likely factored into the decision.

Pacioretty and his $7 million annual cap hit is on long-term injury reserve and Karlsson ($5.9 million) could be joining him after suffering a foot injury. Stone’s status remains uncertain but if he’s out long-term he and his $9.5 million could also hit LTIR.

That would provide the Golden Knights with enough cap relief to take on Eichel’s $10 million annual average value. However, they’ll have to become cap-compliant when those players return to the lineup later this season. That, however, is a problem for another day and could involve a cost-cutting trade later in the season.

The return isn’t a king’s ransom but it isn’t much different from the Sabres’ original asking price in July of Krebs, a first-round pick, defenseman Nic Hague and winger Reilly Smith. Tuch is a better long-term acquisition for the Sabres than Smith, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 25-year-old winger is signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of $4.75 million. He’s currently sidelined until January recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Tuch is an effective power forward when healthy. Krebs is a promising 20-year-old center the Golden Knights were initially reluctant to part with. He had no points in nine games this season but still has considerable potential. With the Golden Knights’ first-rounder, the rebuilding Sabres have three picks in the first round of the 2022 draft.

Time will tell how this all shakes out. In the short term, the Golden Knights got the better player who could help them win that elusive Stanley Cup. If Eichel doesn’t fully regain his once-dominant form, however, this deal could shift in the Sabres favor over the long term depending on Tuch’s performance, Krebs’ development and who they select with that 2022 first-round pick.


  1. Weird, for some reason I had it in my head that Eichel was going to be a Bruin. Krebs & Tuch > Studnicka & Coyle?

    • Lyle, don’t you think that yesterday’s rumor of flames’ interest in Eichel was thrown by buffalo’s management into media with purpose to receive better proposal from vegas?

      • I wouldn’t rule it out, but considering what the Sabres got from the Golden Knights, it’s odd they didn’t go with the rumored package of Tkachuk and Monahan-plus from the Flames.

      • Yep, I nearly died when I saw the rumour from Weekes. I would have been hesitant on Tkachuk for Eichel straight up (I’m a big Chucky fan though).

        Not a huge package out of Vegas but about in line with the reduced demands required. I think the part that makes this worse for Buffalo is the 3rd pick going to Vegas. I know its a low probability pick, but it’s an insult to injury item.

    • As is Kings fan I’m happy to see Tuch leaving Vegas as he just beats up on LA!

  2. Rick W Murray lied to us yet again.
    That’s the last time I take his word as gospel.

    • Don’t worry, Dubya will come up with another one.

    • So he won’t be joining OEL as a Bruin? Must be another trade coming!

      Eichel didn’t want to play anywhere but Boston?

      • We can always hope he doesn’t report to Vegas.
        That’s the only was Rick can redeem himself.

      • Mcdavid to Boston?

      • Ok. But only for Wagner, Moore, Syneshyn and DeBrusk.

    • I thought the trade was a cool thing to wake up to. Then I read this thread and I’m laughing! You guys are great! Can’t wait to hear what Dubya (Stick tap to George!) has to say!


    • There’s always Habsfan30!

      • LJ, HabsFan writes complete sentences, and roots for the right team. 🙂 I wouldn’t compare him to W, whose probably a new incarnation of Wendell use

  3. Whew!
    That was close, I really did not want the Flames to make a deal for Eichel. I just think the injury and his ability to make players around him worse it would have been disastrous for the long term.

    At least Vegas did not have to give up as much as been speculated. I almost think the return was quite low. The second and 3 round picks almost cancel each other so in essence 2 players and a pick

    • I think it was quite low as well FlameFan.

      This could be a home run for Vegas, or a waste of some decent assets if there are issues with the surgery.

      I’m gonna go with home run and Eichel thrives there.

      Gutsy move by McCrimmon and team, but not too crazy, and worth the risk IMO as the return could be really high.

      • Vegas has never been afraid to make a big splash. Should have been named the Golden Gamblers.

      • They are definitely different from their conservative counterparts Flying V. They kind of just go after the guy they want and often get it done.
        The old saying of “you don’t get fired for the trade you don’t make,” doesn’t apply to these guys.
        Not great as an Edmonton native, but have to respect the go for it attitude.

  4. I have been touting Tuch and Krebs all along. The picks are a little off. No conditions ? No multiple firsts

    No way was M. Tkachuk was moving

    • I’m gonna pull a Dubya and say right here – right now – that Matthew is going to join his brother in Ottawa! It’s preordained. Then their parents and sister are going to move to the capital. All at the expense of Eugene Melnyk.

      • Holy Hannah! That’s a bold proclamation, George. Can the sister play pivot? I wouldn’t imagine she’s any easier to deal with than the boys.
        I really like Brady, but I strongly dislike Matthew.

      • It is unfair to split a family up, SOP. You must dislike them both to provide balance.

      • Done and done. I never liked Keith much either.

  5. I’m really interested to see how Vegas balances the cap after this. When everyone is healthy, they’re WAY over the ceiling! And most of their big money players have NMC’s and M-NMC’s.

    I think Buffalo lost the deal (as of this moment), but they ARE building a decent young core.

  6. Buffalo reaches the cap floor with the trade, insurance paying Tuch salary so the Pegulas are happy.

    If Krebs and Glass reach Suzuki level Vegas development will come into question.

    It’s fitting that Vegas is the team willing to roll the dice.

  7. I think Buffalo did just fine with this trade, considering how they are playing so far, as well as their lottery future in 2022. Tuch is going to add a lot to the team, and hopefully, Krebs will too. I wish the Sharks had a player like Tuch. Way underrated for what he did for Vegas, IMO. It’s a big risk for Vegas that Eichel will re-emerge from surgery to be the player he was. I was just a beer league player, but having had fusion at C5-6 and C6-7, I lost a lot of turning radius, and I had to be careful about taking big hits. I see why he opted for the other surgery. Still, he’s going to have to be cautious out there when he returns, and that might have a big impact on his performance.

  8. Am I the only guy that is surprised they got that much in a trade for JE? The guy has not even had surgery yet and no one knows what that looks like. Tuch is underrated, signed for several more years and Krebs very promising, let alone drafts picks. I really did nto thing they would get that much.

    The GK are shooting for the stars this year in playoffs.

    • I am right with you, Gonzo. I’m not sure I would have taken Eichel for free, given that monstrous cap hit for a guy who might not play again (still a possibility). Or worse yet, plays, but isn’t nearly the same, since you’re actually stuck with the cap hit then.

      And, as others have pointed out, I haven’t seen much evidence that he makes a team better.

      I thought BUF did well to get a solid player, prospect, and a #1. Definitely way more than I would have paid.

  9. Eichel vs McDavid at the end of this year and playoffs, and maybe 4 more after that.

    Plus Sutter has the Flames going early.

    Pacific may have just got a lot more difficult.

  10. Wait…how did this happen? Our insider Rick W had assured us for months Eichel would only be a Bruin. I am shocked and confused.

    I honestly hate trolling but some good natured ribbing is much deserved in this case

  11. I love that this is the knights 5th season and we’re already talking about an ‘elusive stanley cup’ … shows how much ownership has done there in such a short time.

    • One Stanley Cup Final appearance and two Conference Finals in that five years will do it…

      • And they’ve now traded away their teams first 4 first rounders. Over the cap by a lot and not much left in prospects. No 1st round pick next year. Can they get in playoffs this year?

  12. Considering that the two NHL pieces are out of commission the trade is hard to judge.

    Tuch’s game is a clean hard hitting power forward who breaks down opposing D and his shoulder surgery might impact that.

    Eichel may or may not ever play again and if he does, there’s no way to see how much he’ll be impacted.

    Krebs was projected to be a top 10 pick in a very strong draft year and a steal by Vegas at 17, kid has a huge upside.

    This upcoming entry draft is purported to be very strong so a first rounder fits into Buffalo’s building plans.
    It’s protected in case it’s a top 10 in which case it falls into next year.

    With that being said I think the Sabres did very well in getting a lot of upside in return for damaged goods.

  13. Where is the breakdown on the salary cap IF Eichel plays this season?
    I assume Smith or March is moved before his return UNLESS they can pull a Tampa but JE needs to play some games before the playoffs

    • ds. Assuming reports of needing 3rd party help to get cap to work were true,I agree there’s probably some future trades in works. There’s no way they fit everyone in when healthy

  14. Not sure what most were expecting; I feel this is a good deal for both. I didn’t see any salary being retained.

    Tuch is a very good player and him alone was better then anything Boston could’ve offered up.

    If they could’ve got more they would’ve, can never really take all the hype about the ask.

    Always found it funny when folks would say “well other teams can out bid them” the statement itself isn’t false but them teams weren’t going to offer up them assets.

    I take Tuch any day of the week, Krebs is a wait and see but comes with high praise, and we’ll see who becomes the 1st round pick and the $4.5m cap space.

  15. Interesting if you compare what Vegas gave up for Pacioretty and Eichel

    Pacioretty to Vegas – Suzuki, Tatar and a second round pick to Montreal

    Eichel and a 3rd to Vegas – Krebs, Tuch, a 1st and a 2nd to Buffalo

    I would say Montreal did very well in comparison

    The injury truely devalued Eichels value or they severely over paid for Pacioretty

  16. Buffalo picks up Johnny Boychuck from NYI to reach the cap Floor, Pegula continues to play the insurance.

    VGK could have used that contract, it’s gonna cost you chief

  17. Lyle…I respect you and thank you for great content…. But…

    “The Golden Knights have long lacked a true first-line center and Eichel should address that need once he returns from disc replacement surgery sometime in February following the Olympic break.”

    “Long lacked” . How long have they been around?…. like 27 seconds?!?

    Vegas has had nothing but upside and blessings from the moment they got a franchise. Their fan base hasn’t experienced true hardship or fire years. If you want to talk about franchises that have “long lacked a true first line center”… How about Arizona. Tkachuk was their last good center and that was over a decade ago and he can hardly be called an elite center. Other than that they had… hanzal?