The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly seeking assets to the equivalent of four first round picks in a potential trade package for captain Jack Eichel. However, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger says their high asking price may be depressing his trade market.
During his weekly interview with Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet during “The Instigators,” Dreger said general manager Kevyn Adams needs to focus on acquiring quality over quantity — and not counting first rounders.
“I think that’s high,” Dreger said on WGR. “I understand that’s why you would ask for that. I guess it depends on the status of that player who was a first round draft pick. I don’t think Adams can go into this thinking we need four or five pieces. It has to be quality. “
The Blackhawks have emerged as an interesting rumored suitor, with Larry Brooks of the New York Post reporting they’re involved in the Eichel sweepstakes. But Dreger says a source tells him Chicago’s interest isn’t as high. They already have three star forwards on their roster who are being paid handsomely and will likely need extensions in the summer of 2023: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat.
“A real good source told me that as much as they love Jack Eichel and the idea of having him in their lineup, they’ve got Kane, they’ve got Toews, they’ve got DeBrincat, who’s not that far away from needing a new contract," Dreger said. "As we’ve learned from the Toronto Maple Leafs, you can’t have four forwards making that kind of money. So, even though there’s been speculation around the interest that the Blackhawks have in Eichel, and I know Chicago has talked to Eichel, they’re more interested in a Seth Jones or Dougie Hamilton. An elite-level defenseman.”
The Anaheim Ducks have also been connected to Eichel, though they’re in the midst of a rebuilding process. For that reason, Dreger says Anaheim is balking at Buffalo’s asking price — possibly along with other clubs.
“I don’t think Anaheim’s interest is as high as has been reported or speculated,” he said. “But the ask might have to come down for more clubs to truly engage.”
Given Eichel’s skill level and age, it’s understandable why the Sabres are asking for a haul. As Hockey Sense’s Chris Peters said during "Schopp and the Bulldog" on Monday, they have to get this trade right.
With that in mind, Dreger says the Sabres should seriously consider dealing Eichel to the New York Rangers, despite misgivings they may have about sending him there. The return is far more important than the destination.
“At the end of the day, if the Rangers are presenting the best package, the best return, then you’ve got to consider it,” Dreger said. “It’s about getting the best return.”
You can listen to the entire Dreger interview during "The Instigators" below: