BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said Thursday that he isn’t feeling any pressure to trade disgruntled star Jack Eichel as the free agency period progresses without a deal.
Eichel, the Sabres’ second overall draft pick in 2015, appears to want a new start after six losing seasons with the team. He said in May that there has been a “disconnect” with the team over the handling of his neck injury and has been the subject of numerous trade rumors since.
But with the NHL Draft in the rear-view mirror and the first wave of free agency subsiding without a trade in place, Adams was asked if the number of potential suitors is shrinking.
“We’re continuing to have a lot conversations with teams,” Adams said. “We’re open on all our players, as I’ve said over and over again, and Jack in particular. The phone rings, we have conversations.
“But I think what’s critically important to make sure is clear is that we’re in control of this process, 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 we 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 was asked later about his previous comments that he’d be fine having Eichel on the team next season since it could be awkward having a captain who wants out.
Adams indicated he’s not concerned with meeting’s Eichel’s desired timeline, only getting the best deal for the Sabres.
“It’s an interesting way to look at it,” Adams said. “I’ve said it over and over again: We want players who want to be here. So I’ll start with that. But, we have players that are on our team under contract and we aren’t going to do something 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 distractions, I’m worried about doing what’s right for the Buffalo Sabres.
“That’s why I say, 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, we’ll do it. I feel very strongly about that.”
Adams added that there’s “no change” on the medical side of the issue. Eichel would like to have neck surgery, but the Sabres’ doctors believe in a conservative treatment.
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.