Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko dominated this summer's trade rumor mill. However, several factors could see both players remain with their current clubs once the 2021-22 season opens next month.
Eichel is engaged in a standoff with the Sabres over which medical procedure he'll undergo to repair a herniated disc in his neck. He's expected to travel to Buffalo for his pre-training camp medical on Wednesday.
Should Eichel fail that examination, the Sabres could put him on injured reserve or long-term injured reserve. However, it won't bring an end to his current impasse with the club.
Tarasenko, meanwhile, was limited to just 34 games over the past two seasons by three shoulder surgeries. His unhappiness with the Blues medical staff reportedly led to his trade request earlier in the off-season. General manager Doug Armstrong recently told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he expects the winger to be on their opening-day roster.
Armstrong pointed out the difficulty of moving a player who hasn't seen much playing time over the last couple of years in a trade market where the salary cap is flattened. He also said Taransenko understands the situation.
Their respective contracts also hamper trade discussions. Eichel's carries an annual average value of $10 million over the next five seasons. Taransenko's is $7.5 million through 2022-23 but he'll earn $9.5 million in actual salary this season.
Add in the expensive asking prices for each player by their current clubs and it's not surprising that they haven't been moved. Interested clubs will want to evaluate both players' performances during this season before making serious trade offers.