Buffalo has not necessarily submitted a formal offer, but did float an initial discussion of a concept in which the Rangers would concede exorbitant value. One source would only share the full proposal off-the-record, as he feared that publishing specific names of players would make it easy to uncover his identity. However, the proposal contained numerous pieces. In addition to the 2020 1st-overall pick, Buffalo sought out multiple players in the Rangers’ organization of substantial stature.
The concept is a non-starter for President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton, and one might gather that the Sabres’ intention with setting such a high price was to get the Rangers to back off rather than to spark further conversation. The Sabres’ captain is frustrated that Buffalo has so far failed to make the playoffs in his five NHL seasons and the general implication is that he will want out if the team’s situation does not improve soon. However, he has not yet requested a trade. The Sabres don’t want to trade their franchise player any sooner than they really have to.
“I hear that (trade talk) a lot,” Eichel’s agent Peter Fish said. “Jack wants to win, he’s frustrated (not winning) but, no, he doesn’t want out. Jack is preparing to head to Buffalo at some point here and prepare for the season, whenever that may be. That’s all he controls.”— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 28, 2020
For the Rangers’ part, they know that a pursuit of Eichel will require some patience. He’s almost certain to begin the season in Buffalo. The Rangers are laying groundwork now and are playing the long game, much in the same way they did for Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Kevin Shattenkirk, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox in previous years. Any future for Eichel in Manhattan is nowhere close to guaranteed. Many other teams will be interested, while a turnaround 2020-21 season for Buffalo could assuage his frustration for good.
But the Rangers will be prepared to make a push for Eichel down the road if and when that opportunity arises, and they will be able to do so on their terms at a trade price much more agreeable than what the Sabres have currently opened with.
“I do get the sense though that if (the Sabres) move him - it’ll be the Rangers that get him,” one source said.