The big story in the hockey world this week has been the ongoing saga surrounding Jack Eichel, a saga that concluded with a trade to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Calgary Flames were in the mix, we’re told, but couldn’t close the deal.
On this week’s 32 Thoughts podcast over at Sportsnet, our pal Elliotte Friedman explained why the Buffalo Sabres opted to trade Eichel to Vegas rather than Calgary.
I’ve said this many times: i think Calgary was in this the whole way. There have been some reports that they were close. I don’t like to say I’m any smarter or better than anybody else. I’m just saying what I’ve heard. I don’t know that they were ever close. As a matter of fact, I was told that they weren’t close but they were always there and they were always trying to find a way to make it work.
I think they were willing to deal some of their top prospects. I think they were willing to deal upcoming first-round picks. I think they were looking to deal maybe a player or two off their roster. But they didn’t have anyone that Buffalo liked as much as Krebs and they didn’t have anyone that Buffalo thought would be as excited to go there as Tuch, and that’s what I heard were the two big strikes against Calgary.
The other thing too is I think Buffalo asked about Tkachuk and I think they asked about Mangiapane, and Calgary just wasn’t willing to go there. And I know it got out… I don’t like shooting down other peoples’ reports. I’ve had that done to me, I don’t like it. The internet was set afire by the whole Tkachuk thing the night before the trade was made. I really think by that time everybody knew he was going to Vegas.
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Friedman shared a short anecdote about his interview with Eichel, then walked it back to how by the time Tkachuk’s name was put out onto social media by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, the Flames were likely out of the mix and Buffalo and Vegas were hammering out the details:
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I think that’s why Treliving is so mad. Because not only was it Tkachuk’s name out there, but I think at that time I think he knew he wasn’t getting the player, I think he knew it was over. So I think Calgary was always there, but I don’t get the sense that it was close. They tried, they tried, they tried. But Buffalo didn’t like their guys as much as they liked Krebs and Tuch.