TSN’s Frank Seravalli has been on top of the Jack Eichel to LA Kings trade rumors. Last week, he reported that the organization showed an interest in acquiring the Buffalo Sabres captain before the trade deadline.
Several players, including Eichel, expressed their frustrations with the team’s direction during their exit interviews. Many media outlets see Buffalo heading back into another rebuild and would likely deal anything with any value to prospective clubs.
The Kings have the salary cap and the assets to get the deal done, but the primary concern has been whether 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield would be included in the package.
“Quinton Byfield is a non-starter,” Seravalli noted. “He’s not leaving Los Angeles, but I think some of the other guys that are on that list: [Rasmus] Kupari, Samuel Fagemo, Arthur Kaliyev, those are types of players, top prospects that would interest the Sabres moving forward. If you can get a few of them, plus picks, plus maybe a roster player or two, who knows what the ultimate package looks like. But that’s how I think you would have to approach it.”
Of course, Eichel’s neck injury is a major concern, considering he has not yet had the surgery necessary to repair a herniated disc. Per the early reports, the recovery time suggests he could miss part of the 2021-2022 season. One general manager even went as far as to say that the 24-year-old center is untradeable at the moment.
“In talking to people around the league yesterday, I had an NHL general manager who is potentially interested in trading for Jack Eichel say at the moment he’s untradeable,” Seravalli added. “So you’ve got a guy that’s unhealthy, unhappy, and now potentially untradeable.”
Still, the LA Kings would be in it for the long haul, with Eichel under contract through the 2025-2026 season. He comes at a $10M cap hit, which could potentially limit what else general manager Rob Blake can do until contracts like Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick come off the books.
But perhaps the recent health concerns about Eichel could end up working out favorably for the Kings if a trade were to be made, given that his value is lower than it was at the trade deadline. It would certainly be a risky acquisition but one that would accelerate the team’s rebuild.