Sports Talk Mailbag
We ask local media members and bloggers a series of
questions to get their perspective on current sporting news
1. Is trading Eichel this off-season a must because of his “attitude”?
"Trading Eichel is not a "must" because you will not get fair-market value for him right now. Teams are slightly scared off because of his neck injury - how much would you give up for a player that wants a procedure never given to an active NHL player? Dealing Eichel means a full-bore rebuild, in which you need quality first-round picks (which rules out BOS) and/or top-notch prospects to make a trade palatable. Making a trade just to make a trade can lead to disastrous results - just ask Ryan O'Reilly" - Ted Goldberg, Spectrum New Sports
"No it’s not necessary to trade Eichel because his value is so low. His position on the team is definitely questionable but at this juncture trading him would be silly." - Zach Sheldon, Trainwreck Sports
"it is absolutely not a must. I’m not in favor of trading him. If I was around losing every season my attitude would take a hit too. Whose wouldn’t? He isn’t the problem so fix the problem and don’t create a huge hole on your team. If they trade Eichel they have a big hole at number one center and their top line is instantly in need of repair. If they trade Eichel will Sam Reinhart want out? He is one year from being an unrestricted free agent. Can you win an Eichel trade? What will they get back? I don’t care at all about draft picks for this year or anywhere in the near future. This team needs to win next season so if they trade Eichel they need multiple pieces coming back that make them better right away not pieces we might see in a couple of years." - Howard Simon, WGR Sports 550
"Trading an all star/dynamic player of Eichels age and caliber is never a must do. His attitude is a concern I'll concede that , but it's simply a matter of poor management and poor team success. I think even though he has a shitty attitude at times , his on ice play is still very much on point. I think if you trade him , it'll come back to bite you hard for years to come. Don't forget we have a very high end draft pick coming our way this off season. That may be enough to help his attitude..... or turn us into the oilers . Who knows at this point." - Tyler Johnson, Local Blogger
2. Where is Eichel’s value on the market currently?
"Eichel is worth whatever the market says he's worth. A $10 mil cap hit is perfectly fine for a healthy Eichel - even with a broken rib (and a previously undisclosed abdominal injury) Eichel was giving the Sabres Selke-caliber defense if you look at advanced stats. Trading him now is dealing from a position of weakness, but if Eichel is healthy, he should fetch multiple firsts+a nice prospect, or two nice prospects and a first (at the start)" - Ted Goldberg
"You have team reporters saying they wouldn’t give up their top prospect for Jack. Anyone who says that should be hung up on." - Zach Sheldon
"I hear people talk about a flat cap year and the 10 million a year contract and now tough it would be for teams to make work. Baloney! or is Balogna? He’s a number one center, one of the top centers in the league, will turn 25 next season, is under contract for 5 more years and has averaged just under a point a game while playing for the worst team in the NHL for most of his career. They should be looking for TOP market value. The only question would be what is going on with his neck and whether that could impact a trade. If that means teams aren’t giving up what true value for Eichel should be then don’t trade him this off season, let him come back and play, show he is healthy and then you can trade him. But let me remind you that I would not deal him. I’m just saying this is what the Sabres approach should be if they decided to move on from him." - Howard Simon
"Speaking of oilers, I just seen a tweet today that answers my opinion on eichels current market value. The aforementioned tweet spoke to an oilers fan hating on McDavid and hoping he wants out of Edmonton. To which another fan offered Reinhart and eichel for Connor. Now I have a tremendous respect for Connor McDavid and the talent he obviously holds. But the oilers cannot and will not take on that much salary in a trade without needing something else off their books. And let's not forget Sammy's spectacular season aswell. So here's how I broke it down . Connor is a better point producer than eichel , but I do find eichel to be a small amount better of a two way player. That's not a knock on Connor, but a nod to jack all the same . So all in all I find Connor being the obvious higher value over jack , this needs to be off set in the other half of the trade . Sam Reinhart's season showed proof that he can definitely withstand the 2c spot , and maybe even make a solid case for himself at 1c in some lesser developed teams. R.N.H seems like a lesser valued swap for Sammy that gives the sabres some upside if Ryan can find some groove for his game. That's not to say that Ryan isn't a quality player , I just feel that Sam vs Ryan, makes up the difference of Connor vs jack." - Tyler Johnson
3. Do you expect Reinhart to be traded or re-signed to an extension ?
Don Granato says Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel are truly happy here (not that we in the media get their jolly side most days). Assuming that's true, and Kevyn Adams thinks this team is close to squeaking into the playoffs, he should sign Reinhart long-term ASAP. How many marquee free agents are signing with the Sabres right now? None. Taylor Hall came over on a one-year prove-it deal, and earned himself a nice contract because he's been a revelation in BOS (and he's finally getting some puck luck). If Reinhart truly wants out, expect him to take the Sabres Qualifying Offer, grudgingly play through this season, and cash in elsewhere in 2022. - Ted Goldberg
"I do expect Reinhart to be traded because his contract has them in a bad place." - Zach Sheldon
"The Sabres should want to sign Reinhart to an extension, even more so if they are going to trade Eichel. But Reinhart has a say in this too. If I were him I would only sign a one year deal knowing next summer I go to unrestricted free agency for the first time in my career. If the Sabres are good they would probably want to talk extension then too. If they aren’t he can leave without anything stopping him." - Howard Simon
"I personally feel that Reinhart will be traded unfortunately. I think he will garner enough attention after bolstering solid numbers on a severely decrepit (yet shockingly impressive) lineup that finished the last month or so of the season. A solid return could give the Sabres SOME face lift that could finally turn the page for this sad state of affairs." - Tyler Johnson
4. Should and will the team bring on a President of Hockey Ops (or whatever title)?
"i think the Sabres should bring in a PoHo, but I'm not a Pegula, so my word means nothing. Don't hold your breath on the Pegulas making this kind of hire - Terry told reporters last year that he doesn't believe in that business model. That being said, the Pegulas will admit when they're wrong - hiring Jason Karmanos was a slight admission that last summer's burn-it-down approach was, ahem, misguided. The Sabres have a barren analytics department and didn't have any AGMs for the majority of this season. Maybe an assistant GM joins the mix? That's the biggest shake-up I see occurring this offseason." - Ted Goldberg
"They should supplement GMKA as much as possible. People praise Beane but where would he be without Shoen and Dan Morgan, those people matter and it’s especially evident with the Sabres over the past half decade" - Zach Sheldon
"I don’t think they should. The only reason to do it is if you don’t believe the two guys now entrusted with running the hockey department, Kevyn Adams and Jason Karmanos, either aren’t up to the task or need another hockey voice to contribute to discussions. There are plenty of teams that have been successful without a president of hockey operations. If I were Adams I might want to add one as a way to have someone deal with the Pegulas and keep them from getting overly involved in the day to day decisions in hockey ops but I’d let Adams and Karmanos run things if it were up to me." - Howard Simon
"GET THE PEGULAS OFF THE "TO CALL WHEN MAKING DECISIONS" list. Now I'm absolutely not going to sit here and say - Kevyn shouldn't have to ask the Pegulas for permission if Kevyn finds the right deal to ship out jack (and it better be a DAMN good deal if he tries trading him), because ownership should give the final nod to dealing franchise players..... I hate it , but ownership should get that courtesy. BUT EVERYTHING ELSE should be handled by absolutely ANYONE NOT NAMED K_._ P_._.u._._" - Tyler Johnson
5. Your thoughts on Granato. Will he be retained? Should he be?
"I think Don Granato will be retained if (a) GMKA goes full rebuild (and the Pegulas sign off on it), or (b) a superior candidate like Boudreau/Gallant isn't interested. Granato's Sabres weren't world-beaters, but they were a competent bunch that showed signs of life and a smidgeon of player development. I have a hard time thinking an AHL coach or a college guy would be a sizable upgrade. Then again, it's 2021, and anything can happen. DET just let go of Dan Bylsma - maybe he'd be a nice fit? I kid." - Ted Goldberg
"I like the idea of signing Granato but ultimately I don’t think they will" - Zach Sheldon
"I don’t have any strong feelings on retaining Granato. There’s a part of me that would like to see a veteran NHL head coach who has won with multiple teams and has taken multiple teams to the playoffs but if they announced Granato was the guy I’d be fine with it. He certainly did a good job and a number of players improved during his time as interim coach. I liked his philosophical approach to how the game should be played. They were certainly more entertaining to watch and it should be a pretty young roster going forward and he has extensive experience coaching younger players at lower levels." - Howard Simon
"Donny meatballs won my heart over a long time ago. He came in , took chances, and played with the lineups INTELLIGENTLY, but I strongly feel that any top quality coach with a modern day hockey sense could have done the same if not more. Don has definitely earned the shot at it , and I won't even be slightly upset if he gets the chance. I believe that the Sabres should still explore Bruce Boudreau or any other top quality coaches along with Don to ensure that the next coach sticks around , develops this poor excuse of a team , and instills a real system for players to buy in on and know that it's not just another 2 year and done situation!. My final answer is Don will do the job for cheaper , and shows promise - the Pegulas appear to have financial concerns..... he'll be back for the wrong reasons - but I'm ok with that." - Tyler Johnson