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Category: Buffalo-Sabres

Philadelphia/Buffalo Trade

via the Philadelphia Fyers,

The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the club's first round pick (13th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft, the Flyers' own second round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and defenseman Robert Hagg, according to President of Hockey Operations & General Manager, Chuck Fletcher.

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Don Granato Named Head Coach Of The Buffalo Sabres

from the Buffalo Sabres,

The Buffalo Sabres have named Don Granato as the 20th head coach in franchise history.

Granato, 53, joined the Sabres as an assistant coach prior to the 2019-20 season. He was elevated to interim head coach on March 17 of last season.

Granato used the 28-game showing to invest in the organization's future by leaning on young players to take on high-leverage minutes and matchups. Players who enjoyed career-best stretches under his watch included first-round picks Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, and Tage Thompson.

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The Asking Price For Jack Eichel And The New York Rangers May Have Interest

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The Blueshirts have been linked to Eichel since last summer, when then-GM Jeff Gorton had pre-draft discussions with his Buffalo counterpart Kevyn Adams. The talks are believed to have broken down when Gorton refused to part with the first-overall selection that became Alexis Lafreniere. 

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.

We’re told that the Sabres have not yet granted permission for inquiring clubs to gain access to Eichel’s medical records. That would be expected to accompany latter-stage trade discussions.

Per sources, the Sabres are asking for at least four pieces that would be equivalent of first-rounders in exchange for Eichel, who left the lineup for good following his 21st game of the season on March 7, and has five years remaining on his contract that comes with an annual $10 million cap charge.

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Remembering Rene Robert

from Jourdon LaBarber of Sabres.com,

Danny Gare was awestruck the first time he met Rene Robert. Gare was a wide-eyed rookie attending his first training camp with the Sabres in 1974 after watching the exploits of Robert and his "French Connection" linemates for two seasons on television.

Gare says he spoke to Robert just about every other day by the end of Robert's life, a testament to a friendship formed during their five years as teammates and decades spent as proud and active ambassadors for the Sabres. 

"He was just a great person, a special teammate, a special friend," Gare said.

Gare and fellow Sabres alumni Don Luce and Gilbert Perreault each joined The Instigators on Wednesday to remember their former teammate Robert, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 72.

Perreault centered Robert and Rick Martin on the French Connection line. The three remained friends after their careers, with Martin having passed away in 2011.

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What Are The Buffalo Sabres Going To Do With Jack Eichel

Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News answers a few questions, the first one is about Jack Eichel,

My prediction is that the Sabres will grant Eichel permission to talk to teams that are interested in trading for him. This dialogue will be necessary because any team acquiring Eichel must feel comfortable with his preference to have the particular surgery he is seeking to repair his injured neck. Allowing those sides to talk is a sign of good faith, and the Sabres also should provide all available medical information.

Then it will be time to field substantive trade offers. This process will need to move quickly, or the Sabres will find themselves in a hearing in which Eichel's camp can state its case to an independent arbitrator. It's better to pass the problem on to another team if the Sabres decide Eichel isn't part of their future.

If another team supports Eichel's decision and offers the appropriate trade package, the Sabres will complete the deal. If not, you might see this drag on for a while. Neither side is going to change its mind. In the end, an exit seems inevitable.

more Q & A

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Jack Eichel Could Be A Fit In Boston

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

Turning talk into trade, when it comes to a potential Eichel-to-Boston deal, is another matter.

Can the Bruins afford the cost of one of the game’s premier centers? From a cap-space perspective, sure. The 24-year-old Eichel has been hurt much of this season, but is paid like a player who put up 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games last season on a struggling team. He carries a $10 million hit for the next six years.

One way to afford him: let unrestricted free agents David Krejci ($7.25 million), Jaroslav Halak ($2.25 million), and Sean Kuraly ($1.275 million) walk, which would free up $10.775 million in cap space. That’s without considering a Hall extension, and other UFAs (Mike Reilly, due a raise on his $1.5 million AAV). The Bruins will also shed David Backes’s $1.5 million retained cap hit this summer. Money doesn’t have to be the holdup.

Do they have a need for Eichel? Certainly not at this moment. The Capitals entered Saturday’s Game 1 against the Bruins trying to find ways to stop Patrice Bergeron’s line and the Hall-Krejci-Craig Smith connection, both firing with equal fury. Imagine if that continues this postseason, Krejci takes a haircut ($5 million on a short-term deal) and Hall falls a bit behind Brad Marchand ($6.125 million) on the salary scale. That’s one formidable top six entering 2021-22.

Given the ages of Bergeron (36 in July) and Krejci (35) and their mileage, it wouldn’t last forever. Bergeron’s contract expires after next season. Krejci, if he returns, could be year to year. Bringing in a 24-year-old, all-world talent from North Chelmsford, and showing him how Bergeron and Marchand operate (see: Hall, Taylor), could be ideal.

Whether they want to ante up for Eichel, the Bruins do need centers.

more plus other topics...

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Afternoon Line- Larry Brooks

That's thinking outside the box.

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Trading Jack Eichel

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

It’s not whether he is going to be traded in the off-season. That much is certain following his end-of-year comments of a “disconnect” between him and the team regarding his health. Rather, it’s whether the Buffalo Sabres can get enough value for him to make a deal worth pursuing.

After the miserable year he and the team have had — two goals and 18 points in 21 games before a neck injury ended his season — it’s a question that isn’t necessarily easy to answer.

Sabres fans might consider Eichel a superstar, or at the very least a top-10 centre. And with a $10-million cap hit, he is certainly being paid like one. But the 24-year-old hasn’t exactly produced at a superstar level during his six years in the league.

Nor would he even crack the top-10 when it comes to goals and points among NHL centres.

Prior to this year, 23 players had produced more offence than Eichel since he entered the league in 2015-16. Among centres, he ranks 15th in goals and 14th in points. He has never scored 40 goals. He has never put up 90 points. Only twice has he even finished the season with a point per game. And just once has he ranked among the top-10 in scoring, when he tied Jonathan Huberdeau with 82 points in 2019-20.

read on

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Now What Buffalo?

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

If you're the rookie GM of the 31st-place club trying to look good in front of ownership, it's probably a pretty easy sell that you're going to build your team around Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jack Quinn, Mattias Samuelsson, Arttu Ruotsalainen, a re-signed Ullmark and whoever you draft in the top three in July.

As bad a day as Monday felt like, go read the previous paragraph again. It makes things look less dark. And that's before you add whatever players or picks they might get in any deals for Eichel, Reinhart or Ristolainen.

Maybe that's what they should do. The veterans didn't seem to go out of their way to throw any olive branches on Monday to Don Granato. Frankly, it doesn't look like they give a damn who the coach of this team is going forward. It's not like they perform for anybody who's been behind the bench here at all in recent years, their odd love for Ralph Krueger notwithstanding.

Remember, this franchise has won exactly nothing with those three guys. It hasn't played a single playoff game with a No. 8 pick in 2013 and guys taken No. 2 the two following years. Nobody can argue this trio hasn't given a lot over nearly 1,400 combined NHL games between the three of them. It hasn't meant a thing.

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Is Jack Eichel A Missing Piece For The New York Rangers?

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

I don’t believe the Rangers have any intention of replacing Mika Zibanejad with Jack Eichel next season. It is possible they could add Eichel, whose relationship with the Sabres represents a case study of next-level dysfunction, but no one should make that assumption, either.

The Blueshirts need to import a veteran leader with a track record of NHL team success. There was a reason, former GM Neil Smith said back in the day, that he traded for Oilers and not Sharks. Not only hasn’t one player on the roster won the Stanley Cup, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba (once as a Jet) are the only guys who have even played in the conference finals.

Eichel, coming off a herniated disk and other assorted ailments, has never played in a playoff game in his six years in the league. Is that necessarily on the 24-year-old team captain? Of course not, but neither does he check the box about veteran leadership or having a successful team résumé.

The Rangers also need a player for their top-six who will set a physical tone and force the opposition to back off. Would Eichel do that?

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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