While recent reports have pointed to the Calgary Flames as a finalist to land Buffalo Sabres centre Jack Eichel via trade, Flames head coach Darryl Sutter downplayed the team's interest on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t aware of [those reports]," Sutter said. "To be honest, I think it’s a bit of a media thing.”
ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported Tuesday that the Flames and Vegas Golden Knights were finalists to land Eichel, who is yet to play this season as he awaits neck surgery.
The 24-year-old centre was limited to 21 games last season due to the neck injury. He has been the subject of trade talk since the end of last season and his former agents released a statement in July trying to spur a trade. He switched agents to Pat Brisson in August.
When asked for if he had a scouting report on the centre, Sutter added he wasn't sure how to even classify Eichel at this point.
“I haven’t seen him play a long time and listened to reports that he’s not gonna play. I couldn’t even say if he’s an active or inactive player,” Sutter said.
Eichel had two goals and 18 points in 21 games last season and has five years remaining in the eight-year, $80 million contract he signed with the Sabres in 2017.
The Flames are off to a 6-1-2 start this season after missing the playoffs last year following two straight first-round exits.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s not really our job to be commenting on stuff like that," forward Johnny Gaudreau said when asked about the possibility of adding Eihcel. "Whether it happens, doesn’t happen, I mean we know we have a good team in our locker room. We are playing well. It’s probably the best we’ve played to start a season off in a long time. Right now, we focus on the guys in our locker room, the teammates we have right now, and focus on Dallas and go from there.”