The Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames were among several clubs rumored to have interest in Jack Eichel. Recent reports, however, suggest they're unlikely to get into the bidding for the 24-year-old Sabres center.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported on June 19 the Blackhawks were joining the teams queuing up to make pitches for the Sabres superstar. On Friday, The Athletic's Scott Powers cited a team source dismissing that idea, pointing out they don't know how the club could carry three players each earning $10 million annually.
Eichel carries an annual average value of $10 million. Long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each carry $10.5 million. Winger Alex DeBrincat will also be due a big raise in a couple of years.
The Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames would be interested in Eichel if there's no long-term concerns regarding his neck injury. Sporstnet's Eric Francis considered that notion a pipe dream, pointing out the Flames lack sufficient trade assets to entice the Sabres.
They're not the only clubs that seem doubtful to pursue a deal for Eichel. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild also appear lukewarm to that idea.
Eichel's health and contract are just two sticking points. Another would be the Sabres reportedly seeking four assets equivalent of first-rounders. Appearing last week on WGR 550's “The Instigators”, TSN's Darren Dreger felt that high asking price could depress the center's trade market.
That doesn't mean other clubs aren't exploring the possibility. Brooks indicated last week that the Rangers have had preliminary talks with the Sabres. He also included the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings among potential suitors.