In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vegas Golden Knights finally get a deal done to acquire Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres, but what other teams were in the conversation, and how close were those potential deals with different teams? In other news, the Montreal Canadiens are noting that Jonathan Drouin is not 100% healthy and will be out of the lineup. Finally, what’s going on with Dylan Larkin in Detroit?
Vegas Lands Eichel
As is being reported by multiple sources and confirmed by the Sabres organization, Eichel has been traded to the Golden Knights and the deal is a big one. The Golden Knights have acquired the center and a conditional pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, and two conditional picks. The conditional picks are a first-round pick in 2022, and a second-round pick in 2023.
The Golden Knights were always the favorites in the Eichel conversation, even when other teams were rumored to be getting close. GM Kelly McCrimmon said regarding the deal, “We are getting a player that I think is one of the top players in the league. He’s in the prime of his career. It addresses a need in our organization. When you look at what a contending team should look like, he’s a big part of that.”
As for what comes next, the Golden Knights are absolutely fine with allowing Eichel to get the disc replacement surgery he wants and the organization has noted, “Jack and his team have been working diligently to sort out next steps.” He will have artificial disc replacement surgery and the timeframe for a return should be in the next 3-5 months. Much of that depends on when Eichel feels ready to play.
Flames Had Offered Up Matthew Tkachuk
According to a report by Kevin Weekes on Wednesday, the Calgary Flames were extremely close. While there was some pushback on his report that the Flames had offered Matthew Tkachuk as part of a proposed deal, he tweeted, “For all asking, my understanding is the @NHLFlames have Tkachuk (who is a future potential captain) an upcoming 1 Rd pick, a former 1st Rd pick, and 2 prospects in the Eichel sweepstakes with the @BuffaloSabres.”
There were a number of fans who read that tweet and wondered why the Sabres wouldn’t pull the trigger on that deal if true. It could have been because the deal wasn’t as real as Weekes reported. It also could have been because trading for Thackuk could have posed contract issues for the Sabres that they didn’t want.
Tkachuk is a pending RFA playing out the final year of a $7 million contract. The Tkachuk’s are known to be tough negotiators and there might have been some concern that he’d not want to stay in Buffalo long-term. If that were the case, the Sabres and GM Kevyn Adams would have been moving from one problem deal to another.
Hurricanes Were in on the Eichel Trade Talk
As per Pierre LeBrun and a couple of other respected sources, the Carolina Hurricanes were the mystery team in the Eichel sweepstakes. It’s interesting news considering the team is 9-0 to start the season and would have likely moved significant roster pieces to acquire a player who wouldn’t be available for approximately four months.
It’s not clear how far along discussions got between the Hurricanes and Sabres and no names have been revealed in terms of what type of package the Hurricanes would have been offering. Some reports suggest the team wasn’t as serious as Vegas or Calgary, but did offer enough to stay in the conversation.
One of the questions many will ask now is that what the Hurricanes ultimately do? Would they be the kind of team that goes from potentially trading for an elite center to doing nothing? Frank Seravalli said earlier this week that Carolina has proven they aren’t afraid to make big moves or trade anyone if it helps the team. Do they have something else cooking now that they failed to land someone they had some interest in?
Canadiens Drouin Unable to Play
As per Arpon Basu, who cites word from Canadiens’ head coach Dominique Ducharme, Drouin will not be in the lineup for the Canadiens on Thursday. He is still not 100% after taking a puck in the head. Drouin did return to the arena the night he got hit and looked to be in good spirits, but the Habs don’t want to take any chances and are holding him out of the lineup.
Alexander Romanov will return for the Canadiens.
Larkin Steps Away From Red Wings
As per a report on Wednesday, Red Wings’ captain Dylan Larkin has stepped away from the team for personal reasons. Head coach Jeff Blashill said there is “no update” on the status of the forward after he missed Tuesday’s game and did not practice.
He is not expected to be in the lineup on Thursday night versus the Boston Bruins and there’s no timetable on his return.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”