Could the Philadelphia Flyers really land Jack Eichel? It may not be as farfetched as you think.
Entering their most important offseason in quite some time, Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers need to make a big move. All eyes are on the defense after the Flyers allowed more goals in 56 games this season (197, 3.52 per game) than in 69 games last season (191, 2.77 per game). However, the team could use a shakeup as well.
Don’t count the Flyers out in the potential Jack Eichel sweepstakes this summer. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft is disgruntled in Buffalo and the two sides seem to be headed for a divorce. There is undoubtedly going to be a lot of interest in the 24-year-old center, and the Flyers could be in the mix.
Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Flyers among the teams he believes “make sense” for Jack Eichel (PAYWALL). And a trade could come sooner than later:
“And while I’m not saying the star center will get traded before the end of the playoffs, what I’m hearing is that conversations between the Buffalo Sabres and other interested teams are getting more intense and serious,” LeBrun wrote on Wednesday.
Eichel has a fairly large cap hit of $10 million through the 2025-26 season. He would be the highest-paid player on the Flyers, surpassing Claude Giroux‘s $8.275 million cap hit through next season.
Given the Flyers’ cap situation, they would have to finagle some salaries and players around to fit Eichel in. But if they have a chance to land Eichel, they should do whatever they need to do to get the superstar center in Philadelphia.
Eichel has 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 games for a rather abysmal Buffalo Sabres team. Over his last two “full” seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20), Eichel had 160 points (64 goals, 96 assists) in 145 games. This past season, Eichel had 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) while playing through a neck injury.
It would certainly cost the Flyers a lot, with one of their premier prospects as just the starting point, and perhaps an NHL-ready top-six forward as well. And that would just be getting the trade package started. If Fletcher and the Flyers want to make a huge splash and essentially go all-in next season, Eichel could be the big fish that they go after.
Eichel would slot in with Sean Couturier (assuming he isn’t traded) as a tremendous one-two punch down the middle for the Flyers. That would move Kevin Hayes –– who we thought was a solid one-two punch with Couturier –– down to a third-line role, where he would thrive.
However, it’s still a longshot for the Flyers to land Eichel. Fletcher likely won’t be able to match the type of offers that other interested teams (Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers) can put together, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
We got the Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis rumors during the season, Seth Jones cropped up a few weeks ago, and Dougie Hamilton made headlines this week. Rumors of the Flyers potentially landing Jack Eichel can now be added to that list.
Chuck Fletcher’s main targets for the Flyers haven’t been identified just yet, but given the list of players above, he should have more than a few quality options to choose from.
Photo: Heather Barry Images