V Jack Eichel One way or another, the situation drags on without permission. The injured striker did not receive physical training last week and was stripped of the Buffalo Sabers captainbut he’s still not progressing towards any operation that could potentially force him to play again at some point this season. There was almost no information from Sabers’ camp about what he was going to do with Eichel (other than transferring him to the injured reserve, where he is now listed), but Elliott Friedman of Sportsnet believes that enough is enough. About his last 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman invites the league to step in:
I think the NHL should step in. I understand that the NHL wants to defend the CBA rules, I understand. But at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s going to be good for your league when you have such a star player and a team that cannot agree with it. This player, who is a star player who can run the franchise, is somehow held back from playing because he cannot negotiate an operation.
I think that’s the only thing the NHL can do. If Jack Eichel agrees – and I think Jack Eichel will – everyone should be able to see his medical indications. St. Louis and Tarasenko, anyone could see the doctors. If anyone has seen [Eichel’s] other than the Sabers, I don’t know.
Friedman, like other reporters who followed the story, cannot confirm with certainty that no other team has seen any of Eichel’s medications, but the veil surrounding them still makes the situation extremely difficult to deal with. It is difficult to trade a $ 10 million player even if healthy, but due to the lack of information it definitely seems impossible. Co-host Jeff Marek suggests that as Opening Day approaches, we may already be heading towards a lost season for Eichel, given the stalemate in which both sides find themselves.
Another thing Friedman mentions is the possibility of a paid contract, which means that this season won’t count if Eichel sits in a year due to the team’s disqualification. This would mean that his contract will be extended until the 2026/27 season, although such an outcome is unlikely so far.
A few days ago, Line Movement’s Nick Kypreos tweeted that Eichel has made it clear that he will go anywhere, although he has no control over it anyway. His no-traffic clause only comes into effect in the fifth year of his contract. Cypreos added that at least one of the teams concerned would like the Sabers to add conditions to any draft pick based on his games and overall post-op scoring.
The Sabers will begin the regular season on October 14, and it is not clear if this situation will be resolved by then.