Sabres GM: ‘No intention’ to trade Jack Eichel, even though teams are calling

Sabres GM: 'No intention' to trade Jack Eichel, even though teams are calling
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With Jack Eichel trade rumors swirling, still-new Sabres GM Kevyn Adams told WGR 550 that he has “no intention” of moving the star center.

“People call and make phone calls and ask about players every day,” Adams said, via WGR 550. “My job is to listen, and we have no intention of shopping Jack Eichel. People call and you have conversations. That’s it.”

Sabres would be almost certain to “lose” a Jack Eichel trade

It’s good that Adams claimed he has “no intention” of sending Jack Eichel away in a trade.

Now, sure, if I were a Sabres fan, I’d crave something even more emphatic. I’d probably want Adams to say, “Sure, teams call. And then I laugh at them, and slam my phone. It’s actually why I use a landline; you can’t really slam your cell phone to end a call, unless you want to break that phone.”

(OK, maybe Adams doesn’t need to get that procedural about hanging up on people, but you get the point.)

Simply put, teams usually don’t win trades when they move young stars (Eichel is 23). TSN’s Bob McKenzie did some digging and learned that the New York Rangers ranked among the teams reportedly calling about Eichel. Scan the Rangers’ assets and ask yourself: what kind of trade package would make it worthwhile to move Jack Eichel?

Don’t repeat the Ryan O'Reilly trade debacle, Sabres

If nothing else, the Sabres getting burned badly by the Ryan O’Reilly trade should serve as an additional warning to scare off any sense of trading. Consider the parallels, even while noting that Eichel is at an even younger part of his career than ROR was:

  • Plenty of people were discouraging the Sabres from trading Ryan O’Reilly before they did it, including some clown.
  • To be fair, the Sabres faced some pressure thanks to public comments. ROR spoke about how all of the losing was killing the joy of hockey for him before the Sabres swap. Back in May, Jack Eichel opened up about how fed up he is with losing.
  • Even under normal circumstances, you’re in a tough spot while trading a star. That only gets worse when a) those players are making public pleas and b) you’ve been losing, and thus look vulnerable. Again, the stage would be set for the Sabres to make a huge mistake.

So, here’s hoping Adams legitimately has no intention of trading Jack Eichel.

Could Sabres trade No. 8 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft?

Assuming that Adams isn’t pulling a Marc Bergevin and playing coy (lying?) up to the moment that he trades a star player, the largely unproven new GM of the Sabres is off to a strong start. By just about any reasonable measure, landing Eric Staal for Marcus Johansson was a shrewd move.

The Athletic’s John Vogl points out that Adams also mentioned to WGR 550 the possibility of the Sabres trading their first-round pick (eighth overall), although they like some of the talent potentially available if they stick with it.

Now, moving the No. 8 pick? That’s an interesting possibility for Adams and the Sabres.

However you feel about Rasmus Ristolainen as a player, he made a great point about the Sabres being stuck in a long period of hoping for a better future.

The Sabres could easily get a strong player at No. 8, and there are ample benefits to squeezing out value from entry-level contract years, not to mention potential bargain second contracts.

But the Sabres want to win sooner rather than later, and Adams has a fascinating opportunity in front of him.

[More on 2020 NHL Draft: Full order of picks for all 31 teams, how to watch]

Via Cap Friendly, the Sabres have about $33.6M in cap space. That might be a little misleading, as that’s with only 11 roster spots accounted for.

Yet it does show that, in many ways, Adams enjoys a blank slate. Could Buffalo entice a cap-crunched team to cough up a serious player by also presenting the eighth overall pick and maybe relieving some of their cap concerns? That’s a big ask for a brand-new GM like Adams. Even so, it could be a fascinating opportunity.

Or, the Sabres could stick with that eighth pick, and possibly enjoy better returns.

Either way, if I’m Adams, I’m diverting any attention from Jack Eichel trade talks to seeing if someone would pay up big-time for that eighth overall pick.

Just don’t trade Jack Eichel, Sabres.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.