Following Day 2 of the 2021 NHL Draft on Saturday, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was asked if he would be fine having captain Jack Eichel as part of the roster heading into training camp later this year in September.
“I have no, in any way, shape or form, hard feelings with Jack Eichel," Adams responded. "He’s a player on our team, so I would have no problem at all if Jack Eichel is on our team when we start training camp.”
However, that does not appear to be the belief of Eichel's agents, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli.
According to a report from Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman late Sunday night, Eichel's representatives are under the assumption that a trade of the star center is coming sooner rather than later.
“Our expectation is that Jack is going to be traded in the near future, and all of our discussions have been centered around that issue,” Fish and Donatelli said to Friedman.
Eichel has been the subject of trade rumors and speculation for several weeks after his end-of-season comments where he expressed his displeasure with team, saying there was a "disconnect" over the matter of the handling of his herniated disk.
Since the injury took place back on March 7, the Sabres have been avoiding any sort of surgery to repair the damage done to Eichel's neck. However, Eichel has made his intentions known with getting a procedure done that has never been performed on a National Hockey League athlete. The Sabres are against proceeding with a surgery such as this.
While Friedman said Fish and Donatelli wouldn't add any additional comments on Eichel's status to this point, he did say that the 24-year-old is back skating, but the belief is he will still need surgery.
Friedman also speculated in his report on Sunday the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and other teams are still in the mix and talking to the Sabres about Eichel. He also added the New York Rangers have not been close in their conversations with the Sabres on Eichel.
One other note Friedman had that he attributes to his colleague, Eric Engels, is while the Montreal Canadiens have reached out to the Sabres, it is not believed they have progressed anywhere to the point the Sabres would agree to a trade.
Eichel is the last remaining piece of the big-three assets the Sabres have been shopping through the early portions of the NHL offseason. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was traded just hours before Round 1 of the 2021 NHL Draft for a package that included the 14th overall pick in Friday's draft. Meanwhile, forward Sam Reinhart was dealt the next day to the Florida Panthers for a package that includes a first round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
According to multiple outlets, the asking price from the Sabres in a potential Eichel trade remains high, being at least four future assets to the equivalent of first round picks.