Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres have now reached the end of the rehab period for captain Jack Eichel and the herniated disk in his neck.
Here’s what lies ahead:
The doctors need to go over the new imaging to decide if the rehab process is showing signs of improvement. If Eichel doesn’t like the results and wants to have the surgery that Sabres doctors haven’t been comfortable with, he has the right through the collective bargaining agreement to take the Sabres to arbitration.
In this step, the issue goes to a panel of experts established by both the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. It would be required to have three doctors on the panel with experience in sports medicine. Both sides would pick one doctor and they would have to agree on the third.
If Eichel isn’t satisfied with the arbitration decision, he could always ask for a trade.
Honestly, I don’t know why the Sabres doctors would all of a sudden be comfortable with a surgical procedure which they have not been comfortable with through this whole process. With that in mind, I think either Eichel is going to have to accept the Sabres' doctors opinion and move forward as a Sabre, or ask out of Buffalo.
The Sabres also have another decision to make before 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Forward Marcus Davidsson was taken in the second round (37th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft and must be signed by the Tuesday deadline. If he goes unsigned, the Sabres forfeit his rights and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
In 37 games this season playing for two different teams in the Swedish second-tier league, HockeyAllsvenskan, he scored three goals and 10 assists for 13 points. He's just 22-years-old.
Davidsson is the only player from the 2017 draft class that hasn't signed. That includes Casey Mittelstadt, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Oskari Laaksonen, Jacob Bryson and Linus Weissbach. That was Jason Botterill's first draft with the Sabres as general manager.