Calgary Flames: If Jack Eichel is Available, Flames Need to Sell The Farm

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 30: Jack Eichel (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 30: Jack Eichel (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

The Calgary Flames are looking for a boost to get them over the top in the next two years. Jack Eichel would certainly do that.

The Calgary Flames have been a solid team for the past few years, but not necessarily a contender for the Stanley Cup. They have made the postseason for three of the past four years but have not been able to get past the first round of the playoffs.

In fact, they have only won one series since they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004.

If they are going to change those fortunes anytime soon, general manager Brad Treliving will need to make some big moves in the coming days. With Cam Talbot, Travis Hamonic and T.J. Brodie all scheduled to become free agents by the end of next week, the Flames need some reinforcements.

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Bob McKenzie caused quite a stir on twitter yesterday when he sent out a series of tweets suggesting teams have been looking into acquiring Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres. The TSN Insider quickly pointed out the player isn’t asking out and the team doesn’t want him to leave, but the series of tweets were quite ominous.

It appears McKenzie heard some rumblings about Eichel’s availability, but when he checked further into it, there didn’t seem to be anything on the front burner.

But, this is Bob McKenzie we are talking about. This isn’t some anonymous insider with a question mark over a silhouette for his avatar on twitter. McKenzie is the unquestioned, greatest insider in all of hockey and doesn’t need to be throwing random rumours out there unless there is something heavier to it.

Now, it is quite possible that Eichel wanted these rumours out there, not because he wants to leave, but because he wants the Sabres to bring in some talent to play with him. This is probably the more likely scenario, but it is also possible Eichel’s agent is trying to get the player’s name out there without formally demanding a trade.

If, and I mean that is a big if, Eichel is available, the Calgary Flames need to go all-in to acquire him.

The Flames biggest needs are on defence and in goal, but a superstar centre only comes along every so often.

Eichel was the second overall pick in 2015. He would have been the first overall pick in most drafts, but this kid named Connor McDavid who plays a few hours north was also available so the Oilers took him.

Since then, Eichel has established himself as one of the best players in the league. He hasn’t had much playoff success, but neither did Ryan O’Reilly when he was playing in Buffalo. That changed pretty quickly once he landed on an actual playoff team. Within a year of leaving the Sabres, O’Reilly had won the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Frank Selke.

Eichel could have just as big an impact on another organization. He was eighth in the NHL in goals this season with 36 and finished tenth in points with 78. He is just 23 years old and is one of the top scorers in the league. Putting him on a line with Johnny Gaudreau would be fantastic.

But, what would it take to get him to Calgary? The Sabres are in no rush to move him and the six years left on his contract could keep him tied there for a long time. The $10 million cap hit is a lot to handle, but the Flames have space to do it right now, though they may have to move some pieces around to fit in a new defenceman and goaltender.

If they do decide to put in an offer for Eichel, the Flames could conjure up a pretty fair package.

Sean Monahan would pretty much have to be included so the Sabres have someone that can play centre and score goals for the next few years. Their top prospect, Jacob Pelletier would no doubt be involved as well. This year’s first round pick, 19th overall, would be heading to Buffalo. Also, a terrific young defenceman like Juuso Valimaki would have to be headed the other way as well.

It is hard to come up with good comparables for an Eichel trade, because players this good just don’t get traded often. Tyler Seguin was dealt for a bag of magic beans but that was before he became a point per game player.

I guess the big wildcard in this offer would be Valimaki. Some see him as a top-four two-way defender already and he is just 21 years old. He was the 16th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft but missed all of last season with injury. He looked well on his way to big minutes in 2018-19, but we will have to see how he bounces back.

Still, that is an offer that would have to get the Sabres management thinking. If Eichel wants out, but is trying to avoid going public with a trade demand, it would make sense to the Sabres to trade him sooner than later.

Next. Three trades involving the Flames 1st Round Pick. dark

Bob McKenzie doesn’t just throw names out there for fun. Something is going on in Buffalo. An offer like this from the Flames would certainly get a conversation started.