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NHL Trade Talk

TALKING POINTS: Eichel trade “on one-yard line,” will Flames meet Sabres price?

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Calgary Flames Jack Eichel NHL trade

Another report puts the Calgary Flames as a “finalist” in the Jack Eichel NHL trade talk. This time it was Emily Kaplan from ESPN offering what has been a common thought for days and previously reported through the National Hockey Now network.

“The saga now has two finalists – the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights,” Kaplan said during her intermission report Tuesday night. “There was a lot of work done over the weekend and today I was told the trade is at the one-yard line.

“There’s still some details they’ve got to figure out. I’m told that Buffalo GM Kevyn Adams is working extremely hard on this to get things done. However, he’s also been very firm in his stance and neither Calgary nor Vegas has met him on his full demands yet.”

As previously reported by NHN, the cost was set high months ago with an ask of no fewer than four pieces (not including assets that may have to go the other way for salary cap reasons).

Unless the stance has softened – although there’s no reason to believe Adams would cave much after taking such a firm stance all the way along – the Calgary Flames would have to meet the expected price of a first-round pick, a top prospect, and two young roster players – preferably a forward and a defenceman under the age of 25.

Targets unlikely to be the ones Calgary Flames fans prefer

Frankly, I’m not sure that Juuso Valimaki would be the target here given the way the 24-year-old Oliver Kylington has taken over a top-four role.

Valimaki has been a healthy scratch the past two games and is in competition for a spot on the bottom pairing on the blueline.

Kylington scored the tying goal in the Calgary Flames’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Up front, the Flames are short on top-six wingers (which was the reported preference for the Sabres at one point). It’s unlikely they would want to part with any of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk or Blake Coleman, who currently occupy those spots.

Andrew Mangiapane could fit the bill for most teams. But he is another player who would be difficult to lose while still trying to be competitive until Eichel is healthy enough to make an impact.

Dillon Dube can play wing or centre and has had an increasingly strong presence.

The $10-million question: how to fit Eichel under the salary cap

There’s no denying that Sean Monahan’s $6.375 salary cap hit would have to be involved unless one of the top names was included in a deal. The Flames have no cap space so fitting in Eichel’s $10 million would have to be a money-in, money-out scenario.

The only way I can see that happening is if Flames GM Brad Treliving feels strongly that he won’t be able to re-sign Gaudreau, or that Tkachuk is biding his time as a pending restricted free agent. Both would be critical pieces of any success the Calgary Flames can expect to have this season.

Both the Knights and Flames are fine with Eichel’s preferred artificial disc replacement surgery, according to Kaplan.

The longer this goes, the less likely either team will have Eichel before the Olympics. The six-week recovery time for the surgery does not include clearance for contact. And Eichel hasn’t been able to train at the NHL level since missing the final 33 games last season.

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