Reports emerged earlier this month claiming teams were calling the Buffalo Sabres about several players, including captain Jack Eichel. There's since been growing media chatter regarding clubs with an interest in the 24-year-old center.
On June 16, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported the Eichel trade talks were “getting more intense and serious”. He speculated the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers could be among the suitors.
During an appearance last Friday on Buffalo's WGR 550 radio, LeBrun's colleague Darren Dreger said the talks were reaching the point where he believes the young center will be traded. He indicated the Ducks and Blue Jackets were in the mix and felt the Kings could soon join them. The following day, the New York Post's Larry Brooks said a source claimed the Chicago Blackhawks could also get into the bidding.
WGR550.com's Franklin Heinzmann considered the Ducks an ideal trade partner. He wondered if they'd offer up a package that included promising center Trevor Zegras and the third-overall pick in this year's draft.
The Blue Jackets, however, could be in a better position to make a competitive bid with three first-round picks in this year's draft. With the Sabres in need of goaltending depth, the Jackets could also include Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo in the deal.
Eichel and the Sabres are still dealing with his ongoing recovery for a herniated disk in his neck. In his June 15 “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported it doesn't appear other teams have been granted permission by the Sabres to speak with Eichel. That could be crucial for interested clubs concerned about the status of his injury.