The Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel's camp are planning to meet to discuss the former No. 2 overall pick's preference to undergo an unprecedented disk replacement surgery.
Eichel has a herniated disk in his neck and per ESPN's Emily Kaplan, there is urgency to have it addressed as soon as possible. Eichel remained hopeful that Buffalo would trade him to a team that would allow him to get the surgery, a procedure that has never been performed on an NHL player before. However, the team has refused to come off its hefty asking price.
The Sabres prefer that the 24-year-old receive a fusion surgery, and under NHL collective bargaining agreement rules, teams have the final say on how to treat player's injuries.
"As recently as last week, there were as many as five teams interested in trading for Eichel, according to sources. Buffalo, however, has held firm on its large asking price amid the medical uncertainty, which has cooled most trade talks," Kaplan wrote. "Over the past several weeks, Eichel has been visiting various doctors, collecting medical opinions that support his preference to receive a disk replacement surgery. According to sources, Eichel's camp is presenting that information to Buffalo management this week, hoping they will budge on their stance."
Depending on how the upcoming meeting with the team goes, Eichel could then file a grievance.
Eichel, who failed his physical at the team's camp and was stripped of his captaincy last month, is currently on the injured reserve list. The 2016 first-team All-Rookie agreed to a franchise-record eight-year, $80 million contract in 2017.