NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2021
The latest Jack Eichel speculation and more on John Klingberg’s contract negotiations in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman once again discussed Jack Eichel’s ongoing standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. Friedman talked about the possibility of Eichel perhaps filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association if there’s not a resolution to this impasse soon. Talk of a grievance suggests the possibility of a trade or a decision on his medical situation isn’t as close as they hoped it would be.
Friedman mentioned several teams are continuing to engage at times. Marek brought up the Vegas Golden Knights but Friedman pointed out Eichel won’t be able to help them right now though he thinks they’ve been in and out on this for a while.
Marek also talked about the Seattle Kraken, pointing out they’re not in win-now mode like the Golden Knights. However, Friedman said he hasn’t heard much about the Kraken having an interest in the Sabres captain.
Friedman said the teams he’s wondered about regarding Eichel are the Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins. Right now, he doesn’t get the sense that anyone’s close.
He hasn’t heard as much about the Ducks as he had in the past. He doesn’t see the Rangers doing it now that they’ve signed Mika Zibanejad unless somebody retains part of Eichel’s salary. The same goes for the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche has been around in a minor way. He looks at the Bruins’ situation and the Sabres’ expensive asking price and wonders if they can do it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only teams I believe can acquire Eichel at this time are those with plenty of salary-cap space and tradeable assets who can afford to wait for him to return from the disc replacement surgery he seeks.
Only the rebuilding Ducks fit that description right now. The Blues Jackets are another possibility but that could depend upon their performance as this seasons rolls along.
The Sabres aren’t budging from their asking price, which is reportedly a return equal to four first-round draft picks. They’re also refusing to retain any of Eichel’s salary. They can afford to wait for an interested team to meet their asking price.
A trade could be made involving a third team that agrees to retain part of Eichel’s salary. However, they’ll want a significant return from the club they ship him to in order to make carrying that dead cap space worthwhile for the next four seasons.
THE ATHLETIC: Saad Yousef recently followed up on Jeff Marek’s report indicating Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg’s camp is seeking an eight-year deal worth between $62 million and $68 million. That would put his annual average value between $7.75 million and $8.25 million.
Yousef, however, cites sources confirming that’s just the starting point for Klingberg’s contract. The belief is the defenseman is a $9 million to $9.5 million player. Yousef speculates Klingberg might have to accept less than $9 million if he wants the full eight-year deal or a shorter-term if he seeks over $9 million.
Klingberg’s camp hasn’t taken a hard line in these negotiations. The defenseman has made it known he wants to stay in Dallas.