Friedman: Avalanche could be dark horse suitor for Jack Eichel

Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman joined "The Instigators" on Thursday with more on the Sabres captain

The Jack Eichel trade speculation continues to swirl.

Earlier this week, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger reported the Minnesota Wild are expected to make an offer for the former No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, considering they recently bought out the remaining four years on the contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. The moves freed up more than $10.3 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

In an interview on Thursday with “The Instigators,” Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman also named the Wild as a possibility for Eichel, though he questioned the feasibility of such a deal. Interestingly enough, Friedman threw out a dark horse contender to land the Sabres captain: the Colorado Avalanche.

"Don’t go crazy with that, but they can do it,” Friedman said with Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet. “They’ve sort of been around the elite of the league. They’ve been knocked out in the second round over the last two years.”

The X-factor for Colorado seems to be whether they re-sign captain Gabriel Landeskog, with negotiations between the two sides reportedly becoming contentious. If Landeskog moves on, Friedman says the Avalanche could look to replace him with Eichel.

“I do wonder if Landeskog does leave, does Colorado do something as a surprise like that?,” he said. “I think a lot of these moves are dependent on what teams are having happen to them.”

While the Sabres still have a high asking price for Eichel, Friedman said in his latest prospect their demands have dropped a little bit. The biggest hurdle to any potential deal may be the status of Eichel’s herniated disk in his neck. Friedman says the Sabres are being careful with whom they share Eichel’s medical records to.

"I don’t know if any teams have seen Eichel’s medical records or reports,” Friedman said. “Eichel has to approve it. I think he would, from what I understand. But the Sabres have to agree to it, too. From what I understand about Buffalo is, they don’t want to give it to anyone. They want to know the team they’re giving it to is a legitimately serious team with a serious offer.”

And what would constitute a “serious offer?” Friedman says that’s dependent on each team’s prospect pool.

“It depends on what Buffalo thinks of your prospect pool,” he added. "There are some teams out there that Buffalo likes their prospect pool better than other teams. I think some teams that Buffalo likes their prospect pool a bit better or maybe has a high draft pick, it’s not necessarily four pieces, but it could be three pieces — but they’re big pieces.”

The Sabres will not be able to move Eichel after 3 p.m. ET on Saturday with the NHL's transaction freeze set to take place ahead of the Seattle Expansion Draft. The freeze will lift on Thursday, July 22 at 1 p.m. ET before Round 1 of the 2021 NHL Draft begins on Friday, July 23.

In case you missed Friedman's interview, you can listen to it below: