Following months of speculation over Jack Eichel's trade status, there's been a bit of a breakthrough. TSN's Darren Dreger last week reported ongoing talks between the Buffalo Sabres and clubs with an interest in the 24-year-old center recently became more serious.
Eichel and the Sabres remain at loggerheads over whether he'll undergo spinal fusion or disc replacement for a herniated disc in his neck. Dreger said those interested teams have access to the center's medical records pertaining to the injury.
Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman indicated there's an urgency to reach a medical solution for Eichel. Some clubs could be willing to let him undergo the disc replacement procedure but they have to make a trade first.
The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reports those teams will want a conditional aspect as part of the trade (such as games played, etc). His sources say Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is willing to consider that possibility.
That prompted speculation over which clubs could make that move. Dreger believed one of them could be the Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings. He also mentioned the New York Rangers but they're likely out of the Eichel market after signing Mika Zibanejad on Sunday to a lucrative contract extension.
Friedman, meanwhile, told colleague Jeff Marek the Calgary Flames tried “really hard” this summer to land Eichel, who apparently didn't object to the idea of going to Calgary. Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights weren't willing to part with promising center Peyton Krebs.
This doesn't mean a deal is coming soon. Eichel's $10 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons and the Sabres' high asking price remain significant sticking points. Nevertheless, we could be seeing the beginning of the end of this story.