This is the game of poker we are playing at the moment. Other teams say ‘you’ve got an unhappy player who doesn’t want to come back’ and the Sabers, I really think at the end of the day they want to move on. They don’t want him to come back, they want to move on. The teams will play Buffalo’s “desperation” at this. The Sabers have to play a game that says’ okay you can play that game, but somebody’s going to get it. If you play it too cool or if you play us too hard, it won’t be you.
Friedman also noted that some teams are even calling him to find out what he knows about Eichel’s injury, given how little information the Sabers have made public at this point. The neck injury is a huge sticking point in the commercial market, given the uncertainty over whether he will still need surgery and miss part of next season.
Of course, there’s also the factor of a long-term contract that carries a cap of $ 10 million. It’s not an easy deal to swallow for any team, although they can technically do it right now. If Eichel cannot come back to the player who scored 36 goals and 78 points in 2019-20, his contract quickly becomes an anchor. A trade will require a team that thinks they can get back to that level and have the assets the Sabers will want in return. Even if Buffalo wants to move on, Adams will need to maximize the return as much as possible for a player who was until now considered a franchise icon.