The Buffalo Sabres and team captain Jack Eichel have been at an impasse all summer regarding how to address a herniated disc in his neck and that has hampered the club’s ability to trade the center. On Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Eichel has switched agents from Boston-based representative Peter Fish to CAA’s Pat Brisson.
Brisson is a power broker in the league, representing a large number of the NHL’s biggest stars (John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Nathan MacKinnon, and Seth Jones) and with his connections may be able to aid in breaking the logjam between the two sides.
Buffalo has been looking to move the 24-year-old Eichel, who had 18 points in 21 games before suffering a season-ending neck injury against the New York Islanders in early March, but has been unable to find a club to meet their asking price of four first-round equivalent prospects with his health status in limbo.
“We’re continuing to have a lot of conversations with teams and we’re open on all our players as I’ve said over and over again and Jack in particular.” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said earlier this month. “The phone rings, we have conversations, but I think what’s critically important to make 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 improved right away or improved 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 that we’re just going to do something to do it. That doesn’t make any sense, so that those conversations are continuing to go on.”
The Sabres have the right to approve any medical procedure and will only give the go-ahead for a generally accepted disk fusion, which would take up to three months to recover from. Eichel’s preference is a disk replacement procedure, which has a much shorter recovery time but has not been performed on any NHL player.
Brisson’s connections throughout the league may be the impetus for Eichel to change representation, in the hopes that he can negotiate a price that the Sabres would find more palatable and a team that would approve the procedure that the center prefers. With just over three weeks to go before the start of training camp, it is a forgone conclusion that Eichel will miss the start of the regular season, no matter what team he is property of.