Let me preface this piece by saying I am a life long Buffalo Sabres fan. I have bled Blue and Gold since 1970. I also think Tim Murray is the perfect GM for this rebuild they are going to exit shortly.
I scout for a living, being the publisher of TJHN is just something else I do, but it does give me the chance to voice my opinion sometimes. So here is my opinion.
Connor McDavid has the potential to change any franchise. Jack Eichel also has the potential to change any franchise. To what degree either will succeed will not be known for years.
This said, if I am Tim Murray, and Eichel is not “my guy”, I am taking every phone call to talk about trades. No exceptions, because their are teams who will give up the farm to get either McDavid or Eichel.
If I am Murray I am only making two phone calls. One to MacT in Edmonton to offer the #2 and the # 21 pick along with Cody Hodgson and a young Defenseman Buffalo has a stock pile of. If he says no, I hang up the phone and I don’t make a bigger offer. Edmonton is a lot further away depth wise than Buffalo is, and MacT either makes a smart prospect loaded deal or continues to struggle.
The second call I make is to Phoenix. I offer the #2 and a young Defense player for the #3 and Oliver Ekman-Larson. Maybe I through in a second rounder or a second Defense prospect to close the deal. If they go for it, I have another top Defense vet with time left on his contract, and with the #3 pick I take Dylan Strome or Mitch Marner. This way I get my additional center. That’s a win for both organizations, and Phoenix needs Eichel for many more reasons.
This leaves Murray to only find a Goaltender in free agency. He has two second round picks this year too.
Either one of these deals puts Buffalo in the playoffs next year. That Sam Reinhart kid is pretty damn good and he is ready for the NHL now. Toss in a kid named Nick Baptiste along with the vets and maybe a free agent? You have a winner.
Now, if Eichel is truly my guy, I make the pick and I give him a max ELC. I keep him in Buffalo after the combine and set him up in a waterfront condo, a few blocks from FNC.
The one call I don’t make is to Boston. But if they do call, I take them for everything they have for the next three years if they want to make a move to keep the home town kid. Seriously, every pick for the next three years. Um, well maybe that was some of the Blue and Gold in me.
Either way, Buffalo is in good hands and will get a great player. They are close. They may make the playoffs this year, at worst it will be the following.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher