I’m not one to usually say “I told you so,” but here we are.
I received a decent amount of guff from Blackhawks fans when I said last week that a potential trade to land Buffalo Sabres Captain Jack Eichel was going to be a hefty deal and that Chicago should want no part of it.
What I said:
“A reasonably acceptable deal from Buffalo’s perspective might include the 2021 11th overall pick, the 2021 43rd or 63rd overall pick, the 2022 first round pick, Kirby Dach, and Alex DeBrincat.”
What I heard:
“Oh, that’s way too much.”
“Boqvist and a second should do it.”
“Buffalo has no leverage, give them Kubalík in a one-for-one.”
Well, I told you so.
In a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Sabres are looking for “at least four pieces that would be equivalent of first-rounders in exchange for Eichel.” And while there is absolutely going to be a difference between what the Sabres are looking for and what the Sabres are going to realistically get if they want to trade Eichel, the point is pretty much the same. It’s a lot more than what will make sense for Chicago.
More from the report by Brooks on Eichel’s health status:
Eichel, who has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck, is just coming off 12 weeks of rest and rehab as prescribed by the Sabres team physicians. The next step is unclear, but the 24-year-old center may be in line for surgery to replace the disk with an artificial one. That type of surgery is typically followed by a recovery period of up to three months.
The Sabres still see the value that the former 2015 second-overall pick holds, even with his injury status for next season up in the air. Eichel is a proven star in the league and should garner that kind of hefty price in a trade.
Like I said last week, the Blackhawks should want no part of a deal that would require them to trade away at least four assets that would equal first-round value. Chicago holds the 11th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, as well as all of their own first round picks for the next two drafts after that. They also hold all three of their next second round picks, as well as Vegas’ 2021 second round pick.
While we’re on it, a list of players that would equal first-round value on the team would be Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach, Alex DeBrincat, Adam Boqvist, Lukas Reichel, Dominik Kubalík, and maybe Jonathan Toews. I don’t see many names on this list that I feel the organization would want to part ways with anytime soon.
For a team that is in rebuilding process, trading away players or picks of first-round value, especially at least four of them, to land Eichel would be foolish. The Blackhawks are not just one player away from becoming a Stanley Cup contender again. Watching this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs should make that very clear.
Especially now, given the state of the franchise in Chicago, they need to be careful with the moves they make and they need to be diligent on managing their high-value building blocks for the future of the organization. It might be a while before high-end free agents or players looking for trades look at the Blackhawks as a desirable destination.