Sin City Welcomes Jack Eichel


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Jack Eichel playing against the Vegas Golden Knights before he was traded there.

Abby Homrock, Sports & News Editor

     The NHL’s most sought after player, Jack Eichel, has been traded to the Vegas Golden Knights after months of trade rumors and discussions. Eichel, former captain of the Buffalo Sabres and 2nd overall draft pick in 2015, packed his bags and moved cross country hoping to have a more successful career in the city that never sleeps.      

    Eichel’s future on a team other than the Buffalo Sabres has been the topic of conversation amongst NHL general managers for months now and Vegas finally decided to put a stop to the conversation. The Golden Knights acquired the forward in early Nov. 2021. The trade consisted of the Golden Knights receiving Eichel and a conditional draft pick, while the Buffalo Sabres received forwards Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and two conditional draft picks.

    Although Eichel is now part of the Vegas organization, he can’t start playing for them immediately because he has a herniated disk in his shoulder. This injury seems to be one of the main reasons he had a fallout with his former team, the Sabres. Due to his injury, he was ruled out for the 2021 NHL season and set on a rehabilitation program to help him heal. After reevaluating the injury, doctors decided that the Sabre’s recommended rehab program was not effective and surgery was the next step. 

    Buffalo’s medical team had recommended that Eichel should undergo fusion surgery to help his shoulder, but he refused. Eichel wanted an artificial disc replacement surgery, which contradicted the Sabre’s surgical option. Because of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, he has to follow the medical options given to him by his team, giving them authority to pick the procedure for him. The obligation to do what others wanted received major backlash from Eichel, as his team was not allowing him control of his own body and prohibited him from playing until he got the surgery they had dictated.

    In Sept. 2021, Eichel failed his physical for the 2021-2022 NHL season, landing him on the injury reserve list. Eichel’s reluctance to get the fusion surgery the Sabres medical team required resulted in his captaincy being stripped away. Eichel was named captain of the Sabres in 2018. I feel the captain is the heartbeat of your team,” Buffalo general manager Kevyn Adams stated during an interview with the media. “I felt we needed to address that.”

    Eichels future in Buffalo seemed nonexistent so it was time for him to finally be traded. Multiple teams were interested in acquiring him, ultimately ending in two frontrunners, the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights. Flames fans were nervous as rumors started to spread about the potential trade and what the Flames would be losing. NHL insider, Kevin Weekes, stated on Twitter that “For all asking, my understanding is the @NHLFlames have Tkachuk (who is a future potential captain) an upcoming 1 Rd pick, a former 1st Rd pick, and 2 prospects in the Eichel sweepstakes with the @BuffaloSabres.” Thankfully for Flames fans, this trade did not go through, leaving Vegas victorious in the Eichel sweepstakes.