What the outcome will be – and what that means for his uncertain future at Buffalo – remains unclear.
In a text sent Thursday to The Associated Press, Eichel’s agent, Peter Fish, did not go into details in writing: “We are communicating with the team and moving towards a resolution. “
Adams declined to elaborate except to say he had had a long conversation with Fish a day earlier. Adams also said the team’s position in denying Eichel’s request for surgery has not changed since the player first revealed in May what he called a “disconnect” with the Sabers on how to deal with the injury that sidelined him for the final two months of the season.
While Eichel is in favor of cervical disc replacement surgery, Sabers medical staff have advised against it because it was not performed on an NHL player.
“Our position has not changed and where we are. It’s in the hands of medical experts, ”Adams said. “That’s what I said before and that’s where we are right now. This is the best I can give you.
Eichel’s uncertain status has eclipsed what was supposed to be the official introduction of Don Granato as the team’s new coach. Replacing Ralph Krueger, fired in mid-March, Granato finished the season as the Sabers’ interim coach before being hired to take over full-time on Tuesday.
Referring to Eichel, Granato said he braces himself for any scenario.
“We don’t know what might happen, what’s going to happen. But we will be ready to go in one direction, ”he said. “Whatever the scenario, we’ll be ready for it. We will adapt and acclimatize without compromising the direction we want to take. So I’m confident and comfortable in it.
Granato is taking over a team whose woes of the season have spilled over into the offseason. Buffalo finished last overall in the NHL for the fourth time in eight years and extended its playoff drought to 10 years.
Eichel then caused a sensation in his end-of-season interview with reporters by revealing the breakup with the Sabers and questioning his future with the team. The player selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 Draft represents the face of the franchise and its highest paid player.
Eichel has completed the third year of an eight-year, $ 80 million contract with a lock-in clause that won’t take effect until next summer.
Adams hasn’t ruled out making significant changes to his roster, including the potential to trade Eichel. Forward Sam Reinhart, who was the team’s leading scorer last season, and veteran defender Rasmus Ristolainen have also expressed frustration saying they would be open to a change of scenery.
Adams on Thursday reiterated his vision saying he wanted coaches and players who want to be part of the solution in Buffalo.
Adams declined to say if he was specifically referring to Eichel.
“It’s more important than focusing and isolating people. I think the point of saying that we have to establish a culture here of people on the ice, employees across the organization who are proud, that this is something really special, ”he said. “We will not compromise on this. “