Sunday, December 5

Exploring trade rumors, surgery options for Jack Eichel and the Sabers

On Adele’s new single, “Easy on me,” she enthuses, “There’s no place for things to change when we’re both so deeply caught up in our ways.”

Is there any other way to describe the drama of the soap opera Sabers-Jack Eichel? Both parties stick to what they want. And now there’s a new wrinkle, fitting the following set of letters: “You can’t deny how hard I’ve tried. I changed who I was to put you first.”

The only question is whether it will come to: “But now I give up.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the latest installment from Jack Eichel and The Sabers.

What is Jack Eichel’s injury?

Eichel was diagnosed with a herniated disc after hitting his head on the boards against the islanders on March 7. According to the Mayo Clinic, a hernia occurs when one of the rubber pads (the disc) in the spine ruptures or tears and the nucleus pushes out. The herniated disc can affect nearby nerves and cause pain, numbness, or weakness in one arm. Not ideal for a hockey player who must carry a stick and shoot pucks.

Why the disagreement over Jack Eichel’s surgery?

Rest and rehab were initially the desired course of treatment, and Eichel was closed for the season on April 14. Over time, it became clear that the hernia was not reacting as they wanted and surgical options were discussed.

“I’ve been a little upset about the way things have been handled since I got hurt,” Eichel said via Zoom after the season when speaking to reporters. “I would be lying if I said that things have been going well since my injury. There has been a bit of a disconnect between the organization and me. It has been difficult at times. Right now, for me, the most important thing is just trying to get healthy, find a way to be available to play hockey next year, wherever that may be. “

According to a statement from his then-agents in late July (Eichel switched from Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli to Pat Brisson in late August), Eichel is comfortable with artificial disc replacement surgery, which was recommended by an independent neurosurgeon and other spine specialists were consulted. He also noted that they thought the Sabers agreed, “until that was no longer the case.”

Sabers’ preferred treatment is anterior cervical discectomy which generally involves removal of the impacted disc and fusion (ACDF) by placing a bone graft where the disc was. This was the surgical procedure performed on former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in 2011, before winning a Super Bowl with the Broncos, and former Mets captain David Wright. The surgery Eichel wants, artificial disc replacement does not involve fusion and instead an artificial disc is placed between the two cervical vertebrae. While ACDF is more common and, according to, the “gold standard,” notes that studies show that artificial disc replacement surgery provides more mobility. However, it has not been done before on an NHL player.

Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, teams have the final say on the treatment of injuries.

“What I can tell you is that we have absolute confidence in our doctors. They are the medical experts,” General Manager Kevyn Adams said at the start of training camp. “They have been consistent since Day 1 … they have never strayed from what they suggested the next step would be. And if anything else was done, they would be uncomfortable with it.

Will the Sabers change Jack Eichel?

Back at the beginning of the camp, Eichel was stripped of his captaincy and the rumors, which have been stirring endlessly about his shipment from western New York, accelerated. The former No. 2 overall pick reportedly asked to leave in the offseason, reportedly on the basis that the two sides disagreed on surgical options.

Eichel failed his physical in September, which was expected since he had that herniated disc in his neck since March and was placed on injured reserve.

“Unfortunately, yesterday, Jack failed his physical.” Adams said. “Up to this point, Jack is not willing to go ahead with the fusion surgery our doctors suggest. So we are going to keep working to find solutions.”

It seemed that a divorce (which is, ironically, the muse on Adele’s new album), was imminent. But now, that may not be the case.

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reports that the Eichel camp is connecting with the Sabers once again to come to a resolution. Eichel still points to his surgical choice and has gathered more medical opinions to support this.

With the NHL season underway, the urgency to do this, whether they trade Eichel or finally have surgery, has reached a new level. Kaplan notes that trade talks have dimmed with the Sabers clinging to their demands for a Grade A comeback and the five teams that were interested last week may not be now.

As Adams said in September: “Teams want clarity and over the course of the summer, there wasn’t much clarity. We have more clarity now. This is an elite franchise player in his prime, under contract, and we need him as the organization moves forward. But we can’t commit to certain things that we believe in. We’re going to work on it. Every day we do it. We have done it in the past and we will continue to do so. “

Obviously a major hurdle that comes with a trade, aside from wasting a considerable amount of time once they have it operated (weeks for the procedure you want; months for the procedure the Sabers want), is the strong limit hit (five years remaining at $ 10 million AAV). But injuries aside, the 24-year-old Hart Trophy candidates don’t grow on trees and the trade is more of a long-term move.

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