It’s finally happened! Jack Eichel is free from the Buffalo Sabres!!
After months of drama between the two sides over the health of Eichel and the surgery that he desires for his neck and long term health, the Sabres have agreed to trade Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights. This morning at around 730a ET Darren Dreger reported that a trade was agreed to and that the trade call was pending.
As the minutes passed we would learn some more details pertaining to the trade while we waited for it to become official as Dreger reported on more details to the trade.
At 935a ET the trade between the two teams became official.
So let’s take a look at this deal as it is and break things down.
For the Buffalo Sabres they are acquiring veteran forward Alex Tuch from the Vegas Golden Knights who is 25 years old, and has been a face for the Knights since their inaugural season. Tuch is also famously known for “The Save” which saw then Washington Capitals netminder Braden Holtby make a spectacular save on Tuch in game two of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
Tuch, who carries an AAV of $4.5 million per season, has 61 goals and 78 assists for 139 points (all with Vegas) in 255 career NHL games (six played with Minnesota before the Expansion Draft).
Tuch is a capable forward who produces on average 15 to 20 goals per season. Outside of the off year in 2019-20, Tuch has shown that he is a proven player that can be trusted in all aspects of the game. In the playoffs Tuch has proven that he is a player that performs well under pressure. Being one of the key factors for teh Knights Stanley Cup run, he will bring that experience over to the Sabres. Currently, he is out due to shoulder surgery. Tuch is slated to return in January or February of 2022.
A 20 year old prospect, has only played in 13 career games and has only one assist to his name, but Krebs was someone that the Sabres were highly interested in, and someone Vegas really wanted to keep. The sky is the limit for Krebs who is playing in his rookie NHL season.
Eichel is finally getting out of Buffalo and is now going to get the Artificial Disc Replacement surgery that he has been desiring since suffering his neck injury last season. With the surgery Eichel is expected to miss some time, but is hoping to be back on the ice in about four months. For this surgery, Eichel will become the first hockey player to receive this surgery, so a lot is going to be hinging on this trade. If Eichel comes back and plays at the level we all know he can play at, then the trade will be a real winner for Vegas as they desperately need the help down the middle. If Eichel losses a step after the surgery, it could still be a win, but only time would tell long term.
I wouldn’t expect Eichel to be the dominant force right off the bat when he comes back. Truthfully I see the 2022-23 season being the true test of Eichel once he comes back from the neck surgery.
As we all knew during this whole saga, there were going to be draft picks involved with this trade, and they came out to what we expected.
For the Sabres they are trading away a 2023 3rd Round pick to the Knights. This pick can be viewed as one of two ways. The first being compensation for Peyton Krebs. As I mentioned before, Krebs was a player Vegas really wanted to keep, and this draft pick was probably the only way the Knights would part with him. The other look is as a long term investment just in case Eichel doesn’t pan out after he has the surgery. Knights do need to think about the future too.
The Knights on the other hand are trading a 2022 1st Round pick and a 2023 2nd Round pick. We all knew that any trade involving Eichel would see the Sabres getting at least one first round pick, and some could say that this feels just about right with only two picks going from Vegas to Buffalo rather than the three to four we’ve heard in the past. However, the 2022 first rounder is a a top 10 protected pick, so if the pick is in the top ten for 2022 then the first round pick will rollover to 2023.
The Sabres are also not retaining any of Jack Eichel’s salary.