News: 1 day agoEichel (neck) failed his training camp physical and has been stripped of his captaincy, The Athletic NHL reports.
Spin: General manager Kevyn Adams told reporters Thursday, "I feel the captain is the heartbeat of your team. I felt we needed to address that." At this point it's safe to assume Eichel will never play another game for the Sabres, but a trade still doesn't seem imminent. The Sabres and Eichel's camp still disagree on the correct course of action to repair the herniated disk in the star center's neck. Eichel is dead set on undergoing an artificial disk replacement procedure, whereas the Sabres believe fusion surgery is the best course of action. At this point, it seems evident Eichel will refuse to address his injury via surgery until he's traded, and there's still no telling when that might happen. Eichel will start the season on injured reserve, and it looks like he may be in real danger of missing the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: Eichel’s 2021-22 fantasy stock is difficult to evaluate, but he has the potential to be among the league’s elite performers if things break right after amassing 66 goals and 178 points in 166 appearances over the last three season. The 2015 No. 2 overall pick’s 2020-21 campaign was cut short by a neck injury, and Eichel’s recovery has been shrouded in mystery as he and the Sabres' medical team haven’t seen eye-to-eye relative to the treatment of the injury. That disagreement was the last straw for Eichel’s camp, and he has demanded a trade out of Buffalo. If the Sabres acquiesce to his trade demands and Eichel heals up by the start of the season, he’ll be well positioned to run wild offensively while donning a new sweater. However, there's major risk potential here, as it’s possible his absence will linger well into the season or an unhappy Eichel will be stuck trying to carry a lackluster Sabres squad.