It wouldn’t be the start to a new week without a Jack Eichel to the Calgary Flames NHL trade chatter.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman jumpstarted the buzz on the Jeff Marek show on The Fan 590 again mentioning the Flames first in teams he keeps hearing about in the mix for making an offer for the injured Buffalo Sabres star.
Eichel is still in limbo on a couple of fronts. Both for his method of surgery and which team he will play with once he’s healed. The Calgary Flames are still the first name mentioned by Friedman as things feel like they’re concluding sooner than later.
“The teams I’ve really wondered about with Eichel are Calgary, Vegas … I’ve heard less about Anaheim than I have in the past,” said Friedman in conversation with Marek.
Friedman suggested the Golden Knights are more likely to want immediate impact, which Eichel would be unable to provide.
Flames have assets and salaries they can afford to drop without immediate impact
That’s where things could make sense with the Flames. The Sabres want assets and do not want to retain salary, but they are reportedly willing to take back contracts to make it work.
The Flames would have to shed salary but have a player in Sean Monahan (and his $6-million deal) who they could part with and not necessarily weaken themselves too much while waiting for Eichel to return to the ice.
Coming back from surgery on his hip, Monahan isn’t currently making an impact with the Flames and is playing on the fourth line between Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis at even strength.
With eight NHL defencemen on the roster and plenty of strong prospects improving their value with their play, it’s a question of cost for Flames GM Brad Treliving and what the Sabres are actually willing to take back from the roster.
The Flames are also hoping they can get more out of Monahan as he continues to play.
If things linger, the NHLPA could file a grievance on Eichel’s behalf. If it comes to that, an arbitrator would listen to arguments and render a decision.
According to Friedman, he was being careful when he recently suggested a grievance could happen in the next two weeks.
Trade or not: situation should be resolved soon
“I don’t think we’re looking at that long if Eichel gets the sense nothings going to happen here, it could be potentially sooner than that. It’s coming if this doesn’t move along,” Friedman said Monday.
As far as the NHL trade interest:
“I think it kind of goes up and down. It gets hot and it goes away. It gets hot and it goes away,” Friedman said, noting on the weekend things had cooled off a bit. “I think it depends on the minute you’re asking.
“All it takes is one phone call to change that and there’s no question some teams have continued to engage at times.”
Calgary Flames, apparently, at the top of the list.