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Sheng’s Daily: What’s Realistic Sharks Trade for Eichel?

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Pierre LeBrun connected the San Jose Sharks with Jack Eichel two weeks ago.

“I wonder if at some level about San Jose,” LeBrun mused on the Sharks possibly dealing for Eichel. “Only because, depending on what ends up happening with Evander Kane. If Evander Kane is off the books in some way or another, depending on what the NHL decides, suddenly they got cap room and that Jack Eichel is 24 and the Sharks are trying to transition into a younger team. So I kind of wonder about them.”

This was on Oct. 15 — three days later, the NHL announced that Kane would be suspended for 21 games — but with no additional penalties.

In short, after Nov. 30, when Kane’s suspension is scheduled to end, he’s back on the salary cap for the remainder of this season and three more years.

That should dash any San Jose Sharks’ hopes for Eichel?

Maybe not — at least on the cap front.

Let’s say the Sharks continue to carry Kane’s cap hit after Nov. 30, be it with the Sharks, partially buried with the San Jose Barracuda, or basically paid to stay home.

Conceivably, if San Jose were able to pull off an Eichel trade, they could put the center’s $10 million cap hit on LTIR. Eichel, of course, could be out up to four months after getting the disk replacement surgery that he’s been seeking.

So irrelevant to what happens with Kane, that could solve Eichel’s 2021-22 cap hit.

Then in the off-season, they could buy out Kane, or hope to trade him with salary retained. At this point, the problem winger will have three years and $21 million dollars left on the books. A Kane buyout, by the way, won’t be pretty:

YEARCAP HIT
2022-23$3,666,667
2023-24$2,666,667
2024-25$4,666,667
2025-26$1,666,667
2026-27$1,666,667
2027-28$1,666,667

Of course, buying out Kane doesn’t come close to covering Eichel’s cap hit. But obviously, this isn’t a one-for-one situation. Just for example, the money you free up by letting impending UFA Tomas Hertl walk, $5.6 million this year, along with the savings from a Kane buyout, could more or less make up for Eichel’s AAV.

Anyway, this is all a longshot. The San Jose Sharks aren’t a likely winner of the Eichel sweepstakes: Their cap situation is concerning and they aren’t rich in young assets like other teams are.

But regardless, what would it take for them to land the star center?

Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News wrote yesterday: “The timing and lack of suitors will force the Sabres to lower the asking price. Eichel’s no-movement clause kicks in this July, so Adams is slowly losing leverage. Few teams that can take on his salary and the Sabres reportedly have no interest in retaining money. In my opinion, the Sabres will acquire a first-round pick with conditions related to Eichel’s recovery, a high-end prospect, a middle-tier prospect with upside and a proven NHL player to help offset the cap hit.

“The Sabres need to add a forward who can score goals.”

Keep in mind that Lysowski is speculating — so I’ll do the same. Giving up a first-rounder for Eichel is a given, that shouldn’t be a problem for any team for a player of this caliber.

As for a high-end prospect, would the Sabres take anything less than William Eklund? You can offer a Thomas Bordeleau and see if they’d bite.

A middle-tier prospect with upside? Danil Gushchin, come on down.

A proven NHL scorer “to offset the cap hit”? A resurgent Timo Meier might suddenly intrigue a team.

If you were the San Jose Sharks, would you trade a conditional first-round pick, Bordeleau, Gushchin, and Meier for Eichel? What if Buffalo insists on Eklund instead of Bordeleau?

At San Jose Hockey Now…

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