Jack Eichel is a generational talent that any contender would like to have. But, here’s why the Blackhawks cannot be one of them.
Let’s start with this: Jack Eichel is an NHL superstar, drafted second overall after Connor McDavid. He has generational talent, one of the next wave of superstars as the Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane (Yes, I added him) era begins to end. His shot is undeniably special, his handles and speed are eye-catching. He is a player any contending team would like to have.
With that said, here’s why the trade should not happen.
First, the Chicago Blackhawks are an up-and-coming team who are still slammed to the salary cap. Even with Brent Seabrook retired, the Blackhawks still have 21 million held onto Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. That alone is enough to make a GM struggle with building a contender.
Add the 10 million contract Eichel carries?
31 million against the cap until 2023-24. The salary cap looks to be flat at 81.5 million for the near future, and, with almost 50% of the cap spent on three players, the Chicago Blackhawks would be spiraling back to where they used to be.
On top of this, they will need to part with a MASSIVE trade package to make Buffalo even consider their offer.
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This could include Alex Debrincat, Kirby Dach, Nicolas Beaudin, possibly Lukas Reichel, and a couple of first-round selections. The Sabres would be well on their way with three young studs and a promising prospect, along with a first-round selection in 2021 and a potential lottery pick in 2022 if Eichel and Kane don’t work out.
Again, Eichel is considered to be a generational talent, and the Sabres would send him to the highest bidder. The Chicago Blackhawks might have to send even more than I listed, with Philipp Kurashev and another first-round selection added to the package.
THEN add Eichel to the logjam of centers the ‘Hawks currently have on their roster. Yes, he could do better than Kirby Dach on the first line, Toews on the second line. But then you’re tasked with finding quality players on a budget, and the Blackhawks look to be a young team on the rise, primed to become serious Cup contenders in a couple of years. They could be taking steps back, even with a 24-year-old superstar in Eichel.
We know about the Matt Duchene trade to the Senators and how much the Senators had to give up. The Senators went downhill fast and the Avalanche became Cup contenders just a couple years later with those assets they received. The Blackhawks need to stay on the course of their rebuild and not make any blockbuster moves that could end up going horribly wrong for them.
To conclude, the Blackhawks should not trade for Jack Eichel. They already have salary cap headaches, and adding Eichel, along with the flat cap, will only make those problems worse. The Blackhawks would have to send a massive trade package over to the Sabres that would ruin their rebuild and chances of getting back to contention. And last, the trade could go horribly wrong for them and jumpstart Buffalo on their way to contender status.