Did the Buffalo Sabres make a mistake moving Jack Eichel
Much will be made of this trade for years to come. The Buffalo Sabres sent off one of the more talented players in the league due to disputes over medical. In return, they got a nice amount, but was it enough to offset losing an elite player?
Right now the Buffalo Sabres sit seventh in their own division with 40 points. In a division that boasts some of the better teams in the league with the Lightning, Panthers, and Leafs. So to say moving away from an elite talent was a good idea, is not always the right answer. However, in this case, I think it was.
It did not seem like Eichel wanted to be there, or even get on the ice due to their dispute over a surgery he wanted.
So what was he really worth to the team? Now, trading him to an already powerhouse even though it was a cross-conference trade is not always ideal. But, in return, they managed to get Alex Tuch, LW, Peyton Krebs, C, a 2022 first-round pick, and a conditional pick in 2023. Krebs is an up-and-coming player in this league and could be a star, and we have already seen what Tuch can do. During his tenure with the Golden Knights, he played in 249 games, notching 61 goals, 78 assists, and an overall +/- of 22.
What should be made of Peyton Krebs though who seemed to be the key piece in this trade for the Buffalo Sabres?
Krebs was drafted 17th overall by the Knights in 2019. In just 15 games for the Sabres he has three goals, and five assists though is +/- of -8 is not super exciting. But, he is still young, very young at just 21-years-old. During his 20 games in the minors this year he showed much more promise with four goals, 16 assists, and a positive +/- number.
With having six players currently on the roster over 30-years-old getting two players under 26 just continue to help the youth movement. If they can get it all together by 2023 or 2024, this team could finally get back to one of the top-10 teams in the league.
Was it enough?
Eichel might still end up being a top player in the league, but the Sabres came out with two younger players who can slide into any line. On top of that, they got another first-round pick this year. If the league stopped now would give him three total sitting at 6th overall, 19th overall, and 31st overall. While I don’t expect to see them shopping those around they could package 19 and 31 to move up into the top-10 or that area and get two top-flight players.
If they choose to keep all three picks, this team could be one of the better young teams in the league.
Not to mention the possibility if that 6th pick somehow finds its way into the top-three they could even draft a player as good or better than Eichel. They also got out of having to pay Eichel as well who has a 10MM cap hit until the 2026-2027 season. This will give them more flex in free agency or extend current players.
Currently, the Sabres have 13MM in the cap, however, they have 16 players whose contracts are up after the season including Miller, Butcher, and Olofsson.
Usually, we would say the team who gets the best player wins the trade but seeing as how Krebs is developing and getting a first-rounder, not to mention a first-line player. The quantity was actually quality. Add in giving them cap flex for the 2022 off-season this is an all-around win for the Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres won this trade on both talent and cap space, and the fact they got rid of a headache and a player who was not getting on the ice for them any time soon.