Hockey

Jack Eichel Trade To Vegas Golden Knights Is Huge

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – FEBRUARY 23: Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on February 23, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Well, the wait is over. It took a while, but the Jack Eichel trade has happened. His destination is the Vegas Golden Knights. Now what? Now he can get his preferred neck surgery and recover, hopefully in time for the playoffs.

THE VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS HAVE THEIR NUMBER ONE CENTER

While both sides of this trade may have thought they won the trade, if Jack Eichel can get healthy, there’s no doubt that the Vegas team has just catapulted themselves into Stanley Cup contention.

Once both Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone are healthy again put your head around a line including them AND Eichel. Talk about powerhouse offense. Or how about their potential power play unit including these three star players? Try 72 power play goals. Opponents would shutter in fear of ever taking a penalty.

The Vegas offense would be able to enjoy 0.86 points per game from Pacioretty, 0.99 from Stone, and 0.95 from Eichel. These are all averages while with the Golden Knights and Sabres. The trio has combined for 514 points in 702 games.

THE SALARY CAP NIGHTMARE CAUSED BY JACK EICHEL TRADE

It’s got to be mentioned. Adding Eichel to the cap hit of Vegas has put their projected cap hit at $91.9 million per capfriendly.com. Three key players are on long-term injured reserve… and that’s the limit a team can have. They currently have $16.1 million of cap space only due to the $26.5 million allotted to Pacioretty ($7M), Stone ($9.5M) and Eichel ($10M). When one of these players comes off of LTIR, the juggling of cap space will present a problem.

If Stone heals faster they can transfer him to injured reserve if another player falls to a long-term injury. What more than likely will happen is that Eichel won’t be back from his neck surgery until about the time the playoffs start. They then don’t need to observe the cap space issue, just as the Tampa Bay Lightning ignored it in Nikita Kucherov‘s injury last season.

If any hockey club can manage their cap space as well as Vegas, they would be that much better off.

TWO PLAYERS HEADED TO BUFFALO

To make this trade work, the Buffalo Sabres needed a good return. They got draft picks, as expected, but also acquired two fairly decent players. Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs will be headed east. Tuch is currently recovering from surgery, and he is due to be back in January. He is a presence on the ice, standing 6′-4″ and 222 pounds. Tuch has tallied 61 goals and 78 assists in 249 games with Vegas. He has 12 power play goals, and 15 assists. He shoots at a 10.3 percent success rate and can take the body handing out 301 hits. Buffalo got a good one.

Then, there’s the young Krebs at just 20-years-old. He only has participated in 13 games with one assist. Vegas was very hesitant to include him in the trade, but things were getting to the point where they had to make a move or lose out on getting Eichel. Krebs has a great future and should get some additional ice time to craft his game.

FOR NOW VEGAS IS JUST HANGING ON

Until the Golden Knights can get some healthy bodies out on the ice, they have been struggling a bit. Expect that to continue, unless they can get Stone and Pacioretty back sooner than expected.

While many are speculating that Vegas took a huge risk in acquiring Eichel, due to injury and recovery from surgery, they are risk-takers and want to win a Cup. It’s not a sure thing that can happen until Eichel returns. It seems even if Vegas plays below their normal level they, have a good shot at getting in the playoffs in a weak Pacific Division.

Then, watch out when Jack Eichel returns.

Vegas just threw the dice and it came up sevens. How appropriate for Sin City.

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  1. Pingback: NHL Schedule November 1-7, 2021 - Championship Sports Media

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