As Michael Scott once said, “No god, no god please no, no, no, noooooo!!” This is exactly what I am saying to General Manager Bob Murray if he is even thinking in the slightest of bringing Jack Eichel to the Anaheim Ducks.
It is not a well let’s kick the tires, or it could be worth the risk kind of situation, it’s a no. Two letters and I could not be more clear, no. If this was the Ducks of 5 years ago the tune may be different, but the rebuild is on in Anaheim and Eichel does not accelerate. In fact, he probably extends it multiple years down the road. And the reasons why are numerous.
The Price is Way Too High
Franklin Heinzmann, according to his Twitter bio is a producer of WGR 550 a sports radio station in Buffalo. A few days back he wrote an article outlining how the Ducks are the perfect trade partner for the Sabres and Jack Eichel. His “proposal” states:
"“The negotiations should start with Zegras and the third overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft….Extra pieces need to be added on Anaheim’s end to make the trade more enticing for the Sabres and mesh well with the Ducks’ salary cap. As for what those extra pieces are, that’s up for discussion. Again, the marquee pieces coming back from Anaheim in a trade for Eichel should be Zegras and the third overall selection. Nothing less.”"
Now, I understand this is a radio producer in Buffalo and not an NHL insider. However, it’s a fair assumption he has some pulse on Buffalo sports and what the team could be looking for in trading their captain. And if that’s the price that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams is asking for, the Anaheim Ducks need to walk away.
As of right now, the Ducks should have a small list of untouchables as this re-build, re-tool, re-whatever you want to call it, continues. That list should be Trevor Zegras, Max Comtois, and Jamie Drysdale. Anyone else for the right price is fair game but if the phone call starts with any one of those names, hang up.
That is the future core of the Anaheim Ducks and they should not move. And even as you read this, if you are not sold on those three, what does trading one or two of them to bring you Eichel get? If we’re being honest, it makes you worse.
It’s a Character Thing for Me
I don’t know Jack Eichel personally and I won’t pretend to, but from what I have seen and heard, I do not want him as the leader or face of the franchise. Eichel has played with good players in Buffalo and has never been able to put it together from a winning standpoint.
He has great skill and can rack up the points but that doesn’t bring Stanley Cup banners to your building, just ask Oilers fans about that. Hockey is the ultimate team game and one “super-star” will not bring you a Cup.
The likes of Twitter and a 24-hour news cycle have clued us as fans even more to things that go on behind the scenes. And while some of that brings some cool insight to the inner workings and thoughts of the front office/players it also airs the dirty laundry that can exist. Eichel has been anything but quiet on wanting to be out of Buffalo. And for me, that just doesn’t fly.
If you’re unhappy and want out that is your choice to talk to the front office and request a trade, but keep it in house, don’t publicly force your way out of town because the team is going nowhere. You don’t want a captain that quits when the going gets tough and that’s exactly what Eichel is doing.
Anaheim Ducks Need to Stay the Course
The Anaheim Ducks are finally in an interesting place this off-season. They have the #3 overall pick to add another high-end player this rebuild, they have at current count $22.5 million in cap space and will be able to be active in free agency as their own free agents that will re-sign will take less than before (Getzlaf) or bridge deals (Lundestrom, Jones, Steel).
Comtois admittedly will most likely get more, but do the Ducks want Eichel and his 10 million a year cap hit on the books all the way to the 26-27′ season? Absolutely not, that hamstrings the organization to huge levels and for a player that is good, sometimes great but does not have the makings of a leader or Cup champion.
The Ducks are in a position to bring in some good free agents, make some hockey deals to add to the new core and get themselves back in contention sooner rather than later. Eichel will prolong not accelerate that. So ultimately, the Ducks need to walk away from the occasional highlights and show some restraint. The Ducks need to make a splash this off-season no doubt, but they need the right splash and to put the right ducks on the pond.