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Islanders don’t have what it takes to trade for Jack Eichel

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders talks with Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders talks with Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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There’s been significant chat surrounding Jack Eichel leaving the Buffalo Sabres. His end-of-season media scrum did nothing to quell any speculations. Let me make one thing clear, the New York Islanders aren’t targeting Eichel via trade.

Sure, the Islanders could certainly use someone like Jack Eichel down the middle (what team couldn’t?), but the issue is the Islanders don’t have the assets to bring in Eichel via trade.

The New York Islanders don’t have the pieces to acquire Jack Eichel

I know the Sabres got nothing in return for Taylor Hall at the 2021 trade deadline, but don’t think for a second that the same will happen in any trade for Eichel. It’s two very different situations.

In Hall’s case, his contract was expiring at the end of the year and with such a terrible year there was no way he was going to stay in Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent again.

Now factor in a full no-move clause into the mix. Hall’s value was low at the deadline and he could decide where he went. That reduces the number of suitors yet again. Which means the price comes down once more.

In Eichel’s case, he’s only 24 and so isn’t yet eligible for any sort of trade protection. His deal does carry a full no-move clause but it won’t kick in until 2022-23. He signed that deal in 2017 and it won’t expire until the end of the 2025-26 season.

Oh, and that contract carries a $10 million cap hit.

There won’t be a discount when it comes to acquiring Eichel. The type of package that is going to be required for the Islanders to pull Eichel out of Buffalo just isn’t possible.

Sure the Islanders have first and second-round picks they can move, but they don’t have promising prospects that carry a ton of value. Say what you will about Kieffer Bellows or even Samuel Bolduc, but they aren’t that valuable.

The only truly valuable asset the Islanders possess is Mathew Barzal. Moving him in a one-for-one trade for Eichel just doesn’t work.

I’ve seen arguments that Eichel is a better two-way player than Barzal. There’s certainly some truth to that. But we all know the Islanders can win with Barzal and this supporting cast of complimentary players. Eichel hasn’t been able to do that in Buffalo.

Islanders fans complain that Barzal just doesn’t do enough on some night to put the Islanders in a winning position. Consider that Buffalo hasn’t had a winning season with Eichel since he was drafted second overall in 2015.

I’m sure you could jump on CapFriendly and use their wonderful Armchair GM app to manufacture a trade that makes the money work and seemingly gives the Sabres enough value, but without Mathew Barzal going the other way the Sabres certainly say no. And trading Mathew Barzal is a no-go from the Islanders.

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