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Jack Eichel has found a new home with the Vegas Golden Knights and his new destination provides him with certain liberties he wasn’t permitted with the Buffalo Sabres.
Eichel, along with a 2023 third-round pick, was traded from the Sabres on Thursday in exchange for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 second-round selection, ending a long, drawn out-saga between Buffalo’s former captain and management.
One of the major points of contention was that the Sabres refused to allow Eichel to undergo an artificial disk replacement surgery approved by the player’s medical counsel. This will no longer be an issue, as Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon confirmed Eichel will undergo the procedure he’s lobbied for over the better part of a year.
Kelly McCrimmon confirms that Jack Eichel will have the artificial disc replacement surgery. Says #VGK will defer to the medical conclusions reached by Eichel's team.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 4, 2021
It’s one of the more exciting trades in recent memory but Golden Knights fans will have to wait for their newest star to take the ice. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Eichel is hopeful he’ll need merely three months to recover from surgery, a liberal estimate of when he can return to the ice safely.
Friedge - Eichel is saying he is very hopeful that 3 months is the timeline.
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 4, 2021
McCrimmon offered a slightly longer timeline during his media availability Thursday, but made it clear a lot is still up in the air.
"It's challenging to give a time frame because it's never been done before in this sport," McCrimmon told reporters. "I keep thinking 4-5 months, 3-4 months, but I say that because I see you all grab your pens and write that down, but we really don't know, and I'm not trying to suggest we do know. But that might be the best guess I can give you right now."
When healthy, Eichel is one of the NHL’s most dangerous offensive talents. His unique upright gait allows him to blow past unsuspecting defenders with world-class acceleration and top-end speed, married with one of the best releases in the league. The 25-year-old posted 36 goals and 78 points in 68 games during the 2019-20 campaign, and he’ll certainly benefit from superior linemates with the Golden Knights.
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