It’s A Buyer’s Market for Jack Eichel if Steve Yzerman is Interested

Nov 17, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) reacts after a play during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) reacts after a play during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Two months ago, I wrote about how the Detroit Red Wings should go after Jack Eichel only if the price if right. I also conceded that any deal Steve Yzerman made involving him would give up considerable assets and not be as helpful to the rebuild.

Times have changed.

Eichel has not minced words lately, talking of a “disconnect with the organization” and one that could absolutely benefit a buyer interested in him.

Much is different since the rumors began floating around that Eichel was not keen on Buffalo. For starters, the disappointment morphed into disgruntled. Second, Eichel is nursing an injury that many believe is a buyer’s beware.

But it might make things easier to get a deal done. With a hefty salary cap hit, too, Buffalo isn’t sitting pretty when it comes to leverage. True, Eichel is a star. But that dims a bit when there are other factors to weigh in.

If there’s anything we’ve learned from a decade of watching Steve Yzerman as a manager, it’s that he will use what ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski calls “a Jedi mind trick” when it comes to making a deal. The noise that it will cost too much seems disingenuous. Here are reasons why:

Eichel is Unhappy and Has Vocalized It

This is the biggest point of leverage that any buyer gains immediately talking trade. Your star player, and captain is miserable with your organization. If the disconnect has been announced and everyone knows it, Buffalo is already dealing from a disadvantage. General Manager Kevyn Adams had Taylor Hall and only received a second round pick and Anders Bjork. In February, Eichel’s stock was higher. After a down season, an injury, and a disregard for playing in Buffalo, his stock has tumbled where talks of multiple firsts and a top talent seems like a pipe dream.

Yzerman has gotten the Best of many GM’s

The “it’ll take Moritz Seider to get Eichel” claim is preposterous. Adams knows that. So does everyone else in the league. Yzerman unloaded Anthony Mantha and received Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik a 2021 1st round and a 2022 2nd round pick. At the time the trade was announced, it was seen as a win for the Wings.

If trends continue, it looks like a massive win for Detroit. Vrana absolutely blew past any baseline fans had while they’re still sitting on draft capital. Panik has been decent as well, while Mantha’s hot start cooled.

Go back to his history in Tampa, too. We’re not dealing with a neophyte here. Yzerman knows what it takes and will massage a deal if it’s possible. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun penned an article today that spoke with unnamed execs around the league. Some indicated it could be a haul. Others saying not so much. The truth usually is somewhere in the middle.

If it gets into a bidding war and a team is willing to overpay, by all means, let them. But if there’s anyone who’s shown the ability to get the most out of a deal, it’s Yzerman.

Eichel has a No-Movement Clause Kicking in Soon

Time is ticking, otherwise. If Buffalo is going to do something, they have just over a year to figure it out. They may not end up moving him at all, but having a bidding war is much easier when the player doesn’t have the ability to say no to a deal. Amping up a little pressure and reminding Adams of this doesn’t hurt.

Ultimately, the Sabres may say no. But the more that is out there, the more it seems like things really are disconnected and that is an advantage to any buyer looking for a deal.

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A Deal is absolutely Possible–it Just has to Make Sense

I wrote it two months ago and I wrote it again: outside of losing a bidding war, the deal could make a lot of sense if Yzerman can land him while giving up minimal pieces of the rebuild. Forget Seider or Lucas Raymond. But if it involves other names, and maybe a future high pick,  (even Washington’s), there could be mutual interest.

In the end, the benefit of the doubt goes to Yzerman, who’s proven time and time again he can make the trade that will help the organization.