Vegas Golden Knights, Sabres reach agreement on Jack Eichel trade

Golden Knights

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 02: Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 2, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Vegas Golden Knights have acquired injured star center Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in return for Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs and draft picks, according to a tweet from the team Nov. 2.

VGK general manager Kelly McCrimmon spoke at a news conference Tuesday to talk about the trade, and he talked about Eichel as an elite center in the NHL.

“I believe if you look at Stanley Cup champions, an elite center is certainly a big, big part of that,” McCrimmon said.

Eichel is recovering from a neck injury, and is expected to have disk replacement surgery — a first for an NHL player, McCrimmon said.

McCrimmon said the Knights would defer to Eichel and his representatives on decisions about the surgery. The surgery is expected to happen “quite soon,” McCrimmon said.

“It’s really challenging to give you a time frame because it’s never been done in this sport,” he said.

“I keep thinking 4-5 months … 3-4 months … but we really don’t know,” he said.

Coach Pete DeBoer said he had talked to Eichel, and that he has “quite a runway” before he returns. DeBoer also talked about the loss of Tuch and Krebs. He described them as quality people that the organization would miss.

DeBoer said the opportunity to get a center with Eichel’s talent is “rare.”

Eichel has 139 career goals in the NHL, all in his six years as a member of the Sabres. He has racked up 375 points, and has 25 game-winning goals. He has averaged 20:19 time on ice through his career.

In addition to Tuch and Krebs, the Knights are giving up a first-round draft choice in 2022 (Top 10 protected) and a second-round draft choice in 2023. They will receive Buffalo’s third-round pick in 2023.

Tuch, originally drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2014, scored 61 goals and has 139 points as a Golden Knight from 2017 through the end of last season. He has not played this year as he recovers from an injury. Tuch was one of the few original Knights remaining on the roster. (William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore.)

By midday Alex Tuch posted some comments on Twitter addressing his trade, and thanking the fans in Las Vegas. “I want to take a moment to thank the entire city of Las Vegas for allowing my family and I to call it home for the past 4.5 years,” Tuch wrote in a Tweet.

Krebs was drafted by the Golden Knights in the first round (17th overall) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He has appeared in 13 games for the Golden Knights and has registered one assist.

“It’s easy to sit and do nothing,” McCrimmon said. “But I don’t think you’re doing the best service to your organization if you aren’t trying to improve your team and build a winner.”

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said the first priority is for Eichel to get healthy.

“I’ve only played against him a couple times … he controls the pace of the game and that’s what those elite players do,” Pietrangelo said.

Several news outlets in Canada were first to report the trade early Thursday morning.

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