As teams add players, soar toward the salary cap and say they’re out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes, it seems like the Sabres may be sliding toward a position of weakness in trading their captain.
Kevyn Adams set fire to that notion.
“What’s critically important to make sure is clear is that we’re in control of this process,” the general manager said Thursday. “We have a player under contract. We don’t feel any pressure. If there’s a deal out there that we feel is the right thing for the Buffalo Sabres, that’s going to help us improve — whether that’s improve right away or improve down the road, those are all the things weigh — we’d be open to it.
“But we’re not in a position where we feel we’re just going to do something to do it. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Adams is right. Eichel is under contract for five more seasons at $10 million per year. He plays or he sits. Buffalo doesn’t have to do anything.
But it does. Eichel wants out. His agents’ only conversations with Adams center around trade requests. Eichel can’t show up at training camp in September as the captain. It would obliterate the fresh start with a young core that the GM wants.
“I’ve said over and over again that we want players that want to be here,” Adams said. “I’ll start with that. But we have players that are on our team under contract, and we aren’t going to do something that we don’t think makes sense for our franchise.
“We have a bunch of good pros in our locker room, younger players that are hungry, that want to be here. I’m not worried about distraction. I’m worried about doing what’s right for the Buffalo Sabres.
“I take the emotion out of it. We look at what is best for us moving forward, and if there’s something that makes sense, we’ll do it. But what I can’t say is, ‘It has to be this time or that time or any sort of pressure point.’ If it’s the right time and the right deal will do it. I feel very strongly about that.”
Are there still multiple suitors for the No. 1 center?