As expected, the Buffalo Sabres have announced that Jack Eichel did not pass his physical yesterday and will not be with the team in training camp as he continues to deal with a neck injury. Less expected was what Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said next:
I spoke to Jack two days ago, I spoke to the team yesterday and addressed this, Jack Eichel is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres. From our perspective, the captain is your heartbeat of your team, and we are in a situation where we felt we needed to make that decision.
Eichel was named Sabres captain in October 2018 after a strong sophomore season. At the time, he called it “humbling” a “huge honor” and noted how it showed “how invested [he was] in this city and excited for the future.” Three years later and Eichel isn’t expected to play for the Sabres again.
Adams confirmed that Eichel is not willing to move forward with what the Sabres medical team is suggesting and the two sides will continue to work toward a solution. That solution, it seems, is one of the more difficult trades he’ll ever have to pull off. Eichel is a star player with a huge contract that is set on having a neck surgery that has never been done on an NHL player. The young forward and his team are reportedly pursuing a disk replacement procedure, while the team wants to do a fusion surgery that has been performed on many other NHL players.
At the very least, the Sabres players now have some clarity. Eichel is no longer their captain and won’t be on the ice to help them during training camp.