Analyzing the Jack Eichel Trade
Posted on November 21, 2021
Well, it’s finally over.
Last Thursday, former 2nd overall pick Jack Eichel went to sleep as a Buffalo Sabre and woke up as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The full trade details go as follows:
BUF Acquires: Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, 2022 1st (Top 10 protected), 2023 2nd
VGK Acquires: Jack Eichel, 2023 3rd
Jack Eichel in his new threads (Photo courtesy of @JackEichel via Twitter)
This trade concludes a long-lasting saga between the Sabres and Eichel stemming from the disagreement in regards to how they were going to deal with his neck injury, which kept him out of 33 games last season. One of the main points of contention between the two parties was the type of surgery that they wanted him to have, as the proposed surgery from Eichel to fix his herniated disk had never been performed on an NHL player before. The Buffalo medical staff was understandably hesitant to follow through on this request, but after a long holdout that seemed to be progressing nowhere, Eichel’s patience was clearly running thin with the Sabres franchise. Something needed to happen. Eichel, who will now be undergoing artificial disk replacement surgery with Vegas as he originally requested, is expected to miss at least three to five months according to Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon.
Last week it was reported by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan that the final two teams involved in the Eichel trade talks were the Golden Knights as well as the Calgary Flames. This inevitably sparked numerous trade rumours in regards to what both teams could offer for such a high-end and potentially franchise-altering player, and Vegas proposed the right package that the Sabres were willing to take.
So how does this affect both teams?
Peyton Krebs, former Vegas Golden Knights prospect (Photo courtesy of NHL.com)
For GM Kevyn Adams and the Buffalo Sabres, you first get to say you finally did it. While the Sabres, had they been confident enough even as early as six months ago to make this decision, could have asked for way more than what they actually got for their 25-year-old captain, it came to a point where the leverage they once had dissolved completely. This isn’t to say that the Sabres got totally fleeced, but there seems to be a significant amount of value left on the table.
Alex Tuch, the 6’4 winger who has shown some flashes of being a highly-skilled power forward, has not been able to replicate the same impact from his career-high 20 goals, 52 point season in 2019 with the Golden Knights. He’ll likely join the Sabres in an immediate top-six role once returning from injury and will have an opportunity to solidify himself as a legitimate scoring threat throughout the remaining five seasons of his contract.
As for Peyton Krebs, the 2019 first round selection played all nine games with the NHL club in Vegas and will provide Buffalo with yet another young option at center alongside Casey Mittlestadt and Dylan Cozens. Despite not registering an NHL point yet, Krebs displayed a great deal of speed, aggressiveness, and an ability to make smart plays in tight spaces throughout his time with the Golden Knights. All great skills to have at such an early point in his career. He projects to be a high-end top six player some day and Buffalo should be happy to have acquired a player who’s made so much progress thus far.
Jack Eichel, former captain of the Buffalo Sabres (Photo courtesy of Jeffery T. Barnes/Associated Press)
For Vegas, this deal becomes a lot easier to assess. They not only acquire an immensely talented and motivated number one center, a position that they have desperately needed to fill, but the Golden Knights get to continue to build on this competitive window that has seemingly no end in sight. Not to mention that they did it at a cost that they likely won’t lose much sleep over. Much of the trade speculation over Eichel had included two 1st round picks within their asking price, and for Vegas to have only given up one is a huge bonus. This is especially great considering that the pick will likely end up within the range of 20th-32nd overall in what seems to be a very top-heavy draft based on the level that COVID has impacted the availability of games to occur over the past few seasons. Things have not looked great in Vegas since the season has started and considering this is the first real state of adversity that the franchise has faced, the top 10 protection on the pick makes this deal even better.
Overall, it’s safe to say that the real winner here is Jack Eichel. Not only does he get to feel comfortable making a major decision with his own body, but he gets to play on a team that will allow him to contend for years to come.