The National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association are involved in the standoff between Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres over how to treat the centre's neck injury, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports.
Dreger said on Insider Trading Thursday that the Sabres are also sharing Eichel's medical information with teams who have trade interest.
"Look, the stalemate continues in the Jack Eichel saga. What’s interesting, though, is the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association have been involved and are talking to all parties involved in this process for quite some time. It is complicated because you’re talking about a mammoth guaranteed contract and an ongoing medical dispute. But an interesting twist as well is that teams with trade interest in Jack Eichel are being given the medical information as it’s collected, so the process is moving along."
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams announced last week that Eichel, who failed his physical ahead of training camp, had been stripped of the team's captaincy. Adams reiterated that Eichel was unwilling to treat his injury in the way the Sabres have suggested, adding he would start the season on long-term injured reserve.
"I think we would all agree that we were hoping to avoid surgery…unfortunately, yesterday Jack did not pass his physical. At this point, Jack is not willing to move forward with what our doctors are suggesting...we will continue to work toward a solution," Adams said.
Eichel is looking to have artificial disc replacement surgery, but the Sabres are against him having the procedure because it has never been performed on an NHL player and prefer him having the disc fused.
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.
“The hockey world believes a healthy Jack Eichel is a franchise player and these type of situations don’t come up very often where players are moved,” Adams added last week. “We believe there’s value on Jack Eichel and we will do what we need to do as an organization to do the best we can moving forward.”
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.
He had served as captain of the Sabres since 2018.