With that rehab period for the herniated disk Eichel’s been dealing with in his neck having concluded, the time to begin talks on the next steps between Eichel and the team is at hand.
When asked after the draft lottery about Eichel’s status, the GM spoke about the communication and evaluation taking place.
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“A lot of information gathering with our doctors, speaking with Jack’s camp on just kind of where we go from here,” Adams said while addressing the media via video chat. “Just to mention our doctors and their expertise on any type of surgery that’s never been done on a hockey player before.”
Adams now plans to meet with the Sabres’ doctors and decide what’s next while communicating with Eichel and his agent to determine a plan.
“What’s key to focus on is like I talked about before- Everybody agreed that the 12-week rehab was the first step in this process,” Adams added as a reminder that they are taking the approach with Eichel one step at a time.
In May, The Athletic reported that Eichel wants to get a surgery done that has never been performed on a hockey player before.
“It’s been speculated and discussed from Jack’s camp about potentially having a surgery that’s never been done on a National Hockey League player before,” Adams said at the time. “Our doctors aren’t comfortable with that.”
If the team and its captain reach an impasse, he can file for medical arbitration per the collective bargaining agreement. He then would have 60 days to file a grievance against the team, should he so choose, which would be brought before an expert medical panel selected with the help of the NHL and the NHLPA. The panel would have three sports medicine experts, one of whom was selected by the player, another by the team, and a third agreed upon by both parties.
If that ruling were not to Eichel’s satisfaction, his options would then be to either accept what the Sabres’ doctors have advised for treatment or request a trade.
Eichel has not asked to be traded, and Adams has previously stated in an interview with The Instigators on Buffalo’s WGR Radio the team doesn’t plan to trade their captain.
“People call and make phone calls and ask about players every day, my job is to listen,” Adams said. “We have no intention and we’re not looking to do anything with Jack.”
Elliotte Friedman stirred the trade-scenario pot this past week while appearing on WGR 550, as teams are reportedly calling the Sabres to gauge whether Eichel or forward Sam Reinhart might be available in a trade ahead of the NHL Draft.
It’s important to note that the team has stood pat in standing by its statements on not trading Eichel, so until any official word comes from Adams and the Sabres, this remains speculative. At age 24, Eichel has five years left on his contract with a $10 million cap hit and a no-trade clause that kicks in after next season.
Fans await further word on what might be next for Eichel and the Sabres.