Sabres GM Adams: “We were not going to be backed into a corner” with Eichel trade

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – After months of rumor, speculation and discussion, the Buffalo Sabres finally made the deal. Longtime franchise player Jack Eichel is no longer on the team, as he heads to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in a trade completed Thursday morning. Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams spoke to the media following the trade, and he made it clear the team didn’t want to just make a deal for Jack just to get a deal done. They wanted to get the right return for what they consider one of the top players in the league.

“The thing that I feel strongly about was we were not going to be backed into a corner or feel that we were going to make a deal we did not feel was right for us regardless of any external pressure or anything being said,” Adams said.

There had been talk for months that a deal would get done during the draft or before training camp, but Adams doubled down on his stance that he didn’t want to get a deal done at any particular time.

“There was never a pressure point that we felt that it was going to be in a certain time or had to be done by a certain time,” Adams said. “We were going to do this when we felt it was the right time and the best time for our organization with the best return.”

The Sabres GM mentioned that the team had a lot of conversations with a lot of different teams, and that things heated up over the last week with a couple of teams in particular. The biggest sticking point for the Sabres was salary retention. They wanted to make sure whichever team traded for Jack, that team would take on Eichel’s salary.

“Salary retention was a nonstarter from the beginning with us that we would not compromise on,” Adams said. “We felt that when we were talking about the term of the contract that we were trading away to retain salary in for this level of player just was going to be a nonstarter. We want to make sure that we have the flexibility moving forward, not just in the short term but for four or five years down the road to have that flexibility to be able to do what we need to do as an organization so that’s why it was just something we were not going to compromise on.”

Adams also squashed other rumors regarding an Eichel trade. Wednesday there was a report that the Sabres were working with Calgary for a deal involving their star forward Matthew Tkachuk. Adams called that report “not correct.”

When asked about Eichel’s feelings on the trade, Adams said he didn’t want to put words in the former captain’s mouth, but did say that the two of them had very honest conversations about his time in Buffalo.

“It was a frustration for him and it all built over time and that’s when he got to so I don’t know if you want to put words in his mouth of why it didn’t work per se but things happen for a reason,” Adams said. “I was very clear to him that we need to build this organization with people that are dying to be Buffalo Sabres, that care so much about that jersey they are going to put on and that’s how we have to move forward.”

After more than six years in the Buffalo system, the guy once heralded as the future of the franchise is now moving on. Adams made it clear publicly that this decision wasn’t personal and he wishes Jack the best.

“This has been a really really challenging situation for everyone involved,” Adams said. “I wished him the best of luck and I want nothing more than for Jack to get healthy and do what he loves to do which is play the game and I told him that. “

So now the deal is done, and the Sabres, Eichel and the fans can move forward. Buffalo picked up a piece that can play now in Alex Tuch, a piece that can play later in Peyton Krebs, and they now have three first round picks for the upcoming NHL Draft.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Now