I know he isn’t a Bruin (yet) but I think it’s time we talked a little about what’s going on with Jack Eichel and how the Buffalo Sabres are handling his situation.
At some point in the past season, Jack Eichel injured his neck. He has a herniated disc in his neck, an injury that can cause numbness and pain to radiate down the appendages and back of the affected person. As one can imagine, a hockey player needs to have full feeling in his hands and arms to play as well as to be free from pain to play effectively. However, he and the Sabres medical team are unable to come to an agreement as to how to solve this issue.
Jack Eichel is pushing for a surgery to replace the affected cervical disc, a surgery that has been performed on ordinary people but not yet on an NHL player. Since this is the case, the Sabres medical team would rather that he have a cervical fusion, which involves removing the disc and adding a bone graft to encourage the fusing of the two vertebrae. Eichel is worried about a potential loss of mobility in his neck, which is a valid concern, although not a typical post-surgical complaint.
While the two sides have been discussing it since he was place on IR with rehab as a focus. Rehab didn’t work.
Now, Eichel and the Sabres are at an impasse. He failed his physical, the team won’t grant him the surgery he wants, and prior to placing him on IR, stripped him of the captaincy.
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams: Jack Eichel failed his physical.
Jack Eichel's health is most important to the organization. We were hoping to avoid surgery, but it is needed. Eichel will not accept Sabres' desire for fusion surgery.
He is on injured reserve.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) September 23, 2021
Jack Eichel has been stripped of the captaincy of the @BuffaloSabres
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 23, 2021
So, it appears that Jack Eichel no longer will play for the Buffalo Sabres. The team has to deal him this season before his full NMC kicks in. This will not be easy: he has 5 years remaining at $10 million so a team has to have the cap space to trade for him even on LTIR because at some point he’ll be on an active roster. So, the Sabres need to get value in whatever way they can.
Word was last season that the Bruins are the team he wants to play for. Does this sound familiar? One wonders if Don Sweeney can fleece Kevyn Adams again for 50% salary retention and a good player while giving up very little.
But what happens if no one makes a deal? Would the Sabres void his contract? Would Eichel get the surgery he wants? He could sign a new deal once he’s healthy. Is that something the Sabres allow to happen?