All-Star center Jack Eichel is one step closer to leaving the Buffalo Sabres after the team decided he will no longer serve as the captain. The news was made public on Thursday by Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams.
Eichel is currently engaged in a standoff with the Sabres after requesting to be traded earlier this year. The main reason for his trade request was a disagreement with the organization about how he should be treating a herniated disk in his neck that kept him from playing since March.
The Sabres and their medical team wanted Eichel to undergo fusion surgery, which calls for removing the herniated disc in the neck. The player, on the other hand, wants to undergo an artificial disc replacement after seeking an alternative medical opinion. As Sportsnet points out, the latter was never performed on an NHL player before.
With the two sides unable to reach an agreement, the Sabres decided to place Eichel on Injured Reserve after he failed his physical ahead of training camp and strip him of his captaincy in the process. The 24-year-old star was named captain ahead of the 2018-19 NHL season.
“Jack Eichel is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres,” Adams told the reporters. “From our perspective, the captain is your heartbeat of your team, and we are in a situation where we felt we needed to make that decision.”
Adams also added that he has been engaged in trade talks about Eichel with several teams throughout the summer but didn’t receive an offer that would satisfy the team. The discussions are ongoing, but there is no timetable for the trade.
Jack Eichel has been one of the best and most consistent young players in NHL since making his debut in the 2015-16 season. In 375 games with the Sabres, he scored 139 goals and 216 assists for a total of 355 points. He made three consecutive All-Star games between 2018 and 2020.