The Buffalo Sabres have started to clean house this offseason and made sure to maximize the trade value for Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen.
There has been a lot of wheeling and dealing in the NHL with the expansion and entry draft in the rearview and the Buffalo Sabres made a couple of significant moves.
While many are waiting to see what the future looks like for Jack Eichel, the team made sure to squeeze out as much trade value as they could in Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart. Both players did not seem to be a part of the team’s plans going forward considering neither were interested in being a part of the never-ending rebuild.
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Getting the 14th overall pick, which was used to draft Swedish forward Isak Rosen, defenceman Robert Hagg and a 2023 second-rounder for Ristolainen should make Sabres fans really excited about this deal.
For the longest time, many believed Ristolainen was not worth much on the trade market considering he is an analytics nightmare. Maybe a change of scenery helps Ristolainen but he was a declining asset for Buffalo and they need to find a way to accelerate their rebuild by adding as many assets as they can.
This leads us to the Reinhart trade. Some might view the Reinhart deal as a bit underwhelming for Buffalo considering they only got a first-round pick and prospect Devon Levi.
There is a fair amount of risk the Sabres are taking on in this deal considering the Panthers were taking advantage of Levi’s stock going up following his breakout performance at the world juniors. Getting the first-rounder seemed like a must considering Reinhart is a significant addition for Florida and that pick likely won’t be in the top 20 either.
Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel’s eventual trade a crucial step forward
Kevyn Adams made it clear in his media availability following the NHL Draft that he didn’t have a set timeline for a potential Jack Eichel trade. At this rate, this is a deal the Sabres shouldn’t be looking to rush considering it can really set the team forward in many ways.
The asking price for the franchise centre remains high and according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there is a sense within the Eichel camp that a deal will happen in the near future. At the same time, Adams made it clear he has no problem with Eichel remaining with the team.
"“I would have no problem at all if Jack Eichel is on our team when we start training camp,” Adams explained to reporters.“If we are in a position that we believe will help our franchise, not just short-term but for the long-term and building this out and building around a core and a foundation of critical assets then we would be open and looking at it. And if we didn’t have that on the table or don’t think that makes sense then we won’t do something. But yeah I have no problem with Jack being here.”"
Friedman has the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild as the teams near the top of the list of potential destinations, don’t rule of the Vegas Golden Knights at this point either. They reportedly want four assets in return according to The Athletic‘s John Vogl (subscription require).
With Eichel making $10 million per season on the cap, Buffalo is going to be limited in potential destinations unless they are willing to take back some contracts to facilitate a trade. Can they also get him as far away from the Atlantic Division as possible? That will be the challenge.
The important thing to remember is that getting a player to replace Eichel is not going to happen and whatever they get in a deal will not satisfy fans. Whether it’s adding as much young talent as possible or getting a haul of draft picks, Buffalo should do what they can to turn this situation into a positive one.
If you look back at the trade the Colorado Avalanche made involving Matt Duchene, they were able to turn that into Samuel Girard, Bo Byram and Shane Bowers. That’s quite a haul when you consider Duchene wanted out of Colorado.
Teams definitely learn from their mistakes but Eichel is a better player than Duchene and Buffalo shouldn’t be settling on what they get back for their top player. What’s more important is making sure that this isn’t a trade that the team regrets in the years to come and whatever assets they get back are maximized to their full potential.
What do you think about the moves the Sabres have made so far this offseason? Can they get a great return in a potential deal for Eichel? Let us know in the comments below.