What would a potential Jack Eichel trade look like? History offers some clues

4 Comments

As the Sabres continue to lose games and inch their way toward a 10th consecutive non-playoff season, the trade speculation surrounding Jack Eichel is only going to continue to build.

It seems unlikely that a trade will happen this season, and it may not even happen during the offseason. But there is now enough smoke that it would not be a shock to see something happen before his no-movement clause kicks in before the 2022-23 NHL season. The Sabres need another rebuild, Eichel is going to be tired of losing, and it just seems like something that could happen sooner rather than later.

So what would such a trade look like?

It is a unique situation because players this good, this young, and signed long-term do not typically get traded. Players like that are franchise building blocks that teams tend to keep at all costs. There are not a lot of comparisons for such a deal. But we still tried to find some to try and guess an approximate value.

Given the speculation every fan and beat writer across the league is already piecing together their hypothetical trade offers — just as Sabres fans put together their wish list — and there is a very good chance that all of them are overstating what this trade might actually look like.

Not a ton of precedent for such a move

To try and find some comparisons I looked for trades over the past 10 years involving a very specific type of player that had to fit all of the categories Eichel does.

  • A front-line, star player. An arbitrary distinction, maybe. But imagine a top-40 scoring forward or a top-pairing defender.
  • In the prime of their career. So not older than 27 at the time of the trade. Preferably younger.
  • They also had to be under contract for at least three more seasons. So no pending free agents. No player signed for two years or less. Had to be a player signed long-term.

These are the names I found having been traded under those circumstances: Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel, Ryan O'Reilly, P.K. Subban, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Rick Nash.

Two types of trades

The players listed above typically brought back two different returns for the team trading them.

There is the “quantity” package that involved a very specific combination of assets. And there is also the lesser utilized (and often times more hilarious) “one-for-one” trades.

Let’s take a look at both types.

The quantity returns

This would be the category that Seguin, Kessel, O’Reilly, Richards, Carter, and Nash fall in. If you wanted to quibble on whether or not you think Eichel is a good comparison, you can. Eichel is a couple of years younger than some of these players were and is more productive offensively. But he also has a bigger contract in an era where we do not know what future salary caps will look like. You also have to consider that while players like Richards and O’Reilly were not as productive, they were elite top-line, two-way centers who not only scored at a first-line level but were also legitimate Selke Trophy contenders.

Players like Kessel, Nash, Carter were elite goal-scorers. Everyone knew Seguin was on track to be a superstar. They all had some sort of an elite skill.

What did those players bring back in return? Let’s examine below.

There is a very similar trade structure here.

  • One really high-end player or prospect. Usually a recent first-round pick.
  • An NHL veteran or two that is a depth player, or mid-roster player.
  • Two draft picks including a first-round pick

The Flyers got great returns for Richards and Carter, but the team was far less successful following the trades (while Carter and Richards teamed up to win two Stanley Cups in LA). Boston did not do terrible initially for Seguin, but quickly squandered it in the years that followed and within three years had nobody remaining.

Columbus got two NHL players for Nash, one of which (Anisimov) they later traded for Brandon Saad, who was then later traded for Artemi Panarin.

The last time Buffalo traded a top-line center (O’Reilly) it was ugly.

The trade is one-for-one

• Probably the most intriguing comparable here is the Taylor Hall trade from Edmonton to New Jersey. Hall was six years removed from being the No. 1 pick, was one of the five best left wingers in the league, averaged close to a point-per-game, stuck on a bad team, had multiple years left on a long-term deal.

Eichel is six years removed from being the No. 2 pick, top line player stuck on bad team, multiple years remaining on his deal. He was traded one-for-one for Adam Larsson, a five-year NHL veteran that at the time was signed long-term (five years, $4.6M per year) and a second-pairing defender. The only good news for Buffalo is Peter Chiarelli is not making this trade.

•  When Montreal traded Subban he was 26 years old, a No. 1 defenseman with a Norris Trophy on his resume (and one year removed from being a finalist for it again) and signed to a massive contract. He was traded one-for-one for an older defenseman (Shea Weber) with an even bigger contract. Who won that trade is a matter of debate, but Nashville had more success with Subban (before trading him) than Montreal has with Weber.

• Months after Columbus acquired Carter from Philadelphia, they traded him to LA for Jack Johnson (veteran defenseman signed long-term) and a first-round pick. They did not win that trade.

So what could Buffalo expect?

If Buffalo does trade Eichel it is going to be the start of another rebuild, so it is hard to imagine the “one-for-one” option being on the table. Trading him for another similar player does nothing to fix the current situation. They need a lot and they need to hit a home run.

The most logical landing spots are the Kings and Rangers, given where both teams are in their current rebuilds, the salary cap space both have to work with, and the young assets they have to trade.

That means if you are a Sabres fan, you should prepare yourself for one really high-end young player (and probably not Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, or Quinton Byfield), another solid prospect, a mid-level NHL player, and two draft picks, one of which is a first-rounder.

From the Kings, imagine something along the lines of Alex Turcotte, Tobias Bjornfot, Alex Iafallo, and a first-and second-round pick.

From the Rangers, maybe something like K'Andre Miller, Filip Chytl, Ryan Strome, and a first-and third-round pick.

NHL general managers are all pretty similar. They are risk averse, look for the same things, and typically do the same things. So we should know what this deal might look like. The days of getting an Eric Lindros-type haul for a star player are gone. There is too much value in young, cheap talent under the salary cap for teams to give up the farm for one player.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

“It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

“It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

“Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

“That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

“You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Vancouver.

Devils: At the New York Rangers.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.