Buffalo: The City
It is hard to think of a gloomier city in North America than Buffalo, New York. The tundra of upstate New York is cold and snowy a majority of the year.
Some even say, the climate forces the residents to live in igloos and hunt for Cariboo. Sleds and snowmobiles are their primary source of transportation. It’s like the Disney movie “Frozen,” but instead of a singing ice queen, there are attacking polar bears. No folding table is safe in this icy wilderness. Hey, at least the Buffao Wings are good.
True story: I have never been to Buffalo, so I might be wrong on a few of those things. One thing I do know is that the city’s sports teams have never won a championship. The closest they ever got was “wide-right” and Brett Hull’s foot in a crease. The city’s NFL team the Buffalo Bills have begun to turn it around. Then again, it helps that they play the New York Jets twice a year.
Buffalo Sabres’ Permanent Rebuild
The same can not be said for the Buffalo Sabres. Five years after the team’s famous tank and drafting franchise player Jack Eichel second overall, the Sabres have nothing to show for it. They haven’t even made the playoffs a single time with Eichel. Eichel has even famously expressed his frustration, but there’s no “official” indication he might be traded. Still those rumors always persist.
On last Friday, Bleacher Report published the latest of a million “Jack Eichel Trade Proposal,” articles you can find online. Before even opening it I could have told you the New Jersey Devils shouldn’t be on that list. To my surprise, there they were, listed as one of the five potential trade destinations for the Eichel.
Should The Devils Want Eichel?
There’s a difference between “should the Devils try to get Eichel,” and “should the Devils want Eichel?” He is an elite player in the NHL. Having him on the team would be an immediate upgrade. Of course, Devils’ fans want a player like that. However, when you see the projected trade packages many quickly realize it’s not worth it.
That’s not saying the Devils can’t trade for Jack Eichel. However, with the current position of the team, potential cost, and the resources available it’s not worth it. Make no mistake about it, Jack Eichel would look great in the red and black. However, let’s be realistic.
Why the Potential Trade Wouldn’t Work
Before even looking at the Bleacher Report proposal, I knew Eichel wouldn’t fit on the Devils. The Devils currently have their number one and two centers set for the future in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Having a one, two, three punch of Hischier, Hughes, and Eichel down the middle would be amazing. But, think of the trade cost of adding a third center. Especially on that is not necessarily needed.
If Eichel was a winger this would be a different story. Sure, you can try to turn a generational player into a winger. The problems with that are you are wasting his talent at his natural position and risking a lot of resources — both in tradable assets and cap space) on something that may not work out.
Then They Bring up Nico Hischier
By this point, I played along and read most of what they have to say on the Devils. I was not prepared me for what came next. The article explains how the trade would have to include Devils’ current super star, Nico Hischier.
Just like Mark Cuban says on Shark Tank, “I’m out.” By no means are the Devils interested, but if the article had proposed something along the lines of two first-round pick then maybe.
Trading Nico Hischier would be the New Jersey’s own version of the Wayne Gretzky trade. Look, us DAB writers do this for free, so the fact Bleacher Report paid someone to come up with that bonkers trade theory is a bit insulting to my journalistic integrity.
When current general manager Tom Fitzgerald took over following Ray Shero’s firing he surprisingly traded away Blake Coleman. Fitzgerald followed by explaining the only pieces on the team that were off limits in trade talks were Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Mackenzie Blackwood. Why would you propose a trade for a player our general manager went out of his way multiple times to say was unavailable?
Then Bleacher Report followed up with saying Jack Hughes might be part of the deal. They said that might be too much for Fitzgerald. Glad they stopped there. If they kept going I may have lost it.
The Devils Have The Cap Space Though!
One of the major factors discussed in Bleacher Report’s piece is Jack Eichel’s cap hit. Eichel’s contract has five more years at a $10,000,000.
Yes, the Devils do have the cap space, but they shouldn’t use it on Eichel. Just because you have money to spend doesn’t mean you should. In today’s NHL where cap space is a commodity that can be weaponized it’s shouldn’t be used on frivolous and unneeded things.
Say what you want about Shero, but he was very good at using the Devils’ cap space as a valuable asset. Getting Eichel would take that away completely for the next half of a decade. That doesn’t even account for the fact the cap isn’t going up next season.
Final Verdict: No
No, Jack Eichel will not be traded to the New Jersey Devils any time soon. If Buffalo decided they would let him go for a second round pick I’d drive to upstate New York to pick Eichel up myself. We all know that is not happening. Ultimately, the cost would be way too high and not worth it.