Blackhawks enter the Jack Eichel trade sweepstakes

In addition to the usual suspects, there is a previously undisclosed entrant in the Hunt for Jack Eichel.

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In addition to the usual suspects including the Ducks, Flyers, Wild, Kings and perhaps the Rangers, there is a previously undisclosed entrant in the Hunt for Jack Eichel.

For Slapshots has learned that the Blackhawks have taken a ticket at the deli counter in communicating their interest in the 24-year-old center, who is in the midst of divorce proceedings with the Sabres while possibly facing a tricky surgery to repair a herniated disk.

In order to succeed in the quest, Chicago’s offer would have to feature Kirby Dach, the 20-year-old center who was drafted third overall in 2019, recorded 23 points (8-15) in his rookie season and then played only 18 games last year after he suffered a wrist injury in a pre-World Juniors tournament game.

Of course there would have to be more to it. The Blackhawks own the 11th overall selection in the upcoming July 23 draft. That likely would also have to be thrown into the mix.    

 Jonathan Toews, who missed last season with an unidentified medical issue, may be able to return next season (when does a season become “this one” and as opposed to “next one,” I’ve never quite figured that one out?) for his age 33 season.

That is pure speculation, though, as a news blackout on the Chicago captain’s health and status has been in effect since the late December statement announcing that he would be out indefinitely.     

The Chicago Blackhawks are interested in trading for Buffalo Sabres star center Jack Eichel.
Getty Images

The Blackhawks have qualified for the playoffs only once the last four years, through their 2020 bubble qualifying round victory, and have not advanced to the second round since their 2015 Cup victory.

They are also believed to be interested in Seth Jones, the Blue Jackets’ latest would-be asylum-seeker. A deal for the defenseman would also have to feature Dach. Alternatively, Chicago is expected to investigate signing impending free agent Dougie Hamilton, who may leave the Candy Canes to take his talents to the Kraken.

We were told toward the end of the week that the Seattle GM Ron Francis had decided to hire Rick Tocchet as coach after going far down the line with David Quinn, but there is nothing official at the moment.

 It is understood that Cole Caufield has played a sum of 22 NHL games, 10 in the regular season and another dozen in the playoffs. But when is the last time that everyone knew, just knew, that a draft’s 15th-overall selection, was going to make it big time?

Maybe 1977, when the Islanders selected Mike Bossy at that spot?

Cole Caufield (right) celebrates his goal in Game 3 of the semifinals.

Of course, in referring to that selection, “everyone” would mean “everyone except Claude Ruel.”

 For it was the Montreal director of player personnel who relentlessly disparaged Bossy’s ability and inclination to check and play defense to the extent that the Canadiens passed on the Quebecer, instead snapping up winger Mark Napier at 10th overall.

Napier did score 40 goals twice and 35 goals once, but, please. Ruel’s misjudgment helped to short-circuit one dynasty while enabling another.

So, ranking the NHL’s top 15th-overall draft selections: 1. Bossy, Islanders, 197 ; 2. Joe Sakic, Nordiques, 1987; 3. Al MacInnis, Flames, 1981; 4. Erik Karlsson, Senators, 2008; 5. Alex Kovalev, Rangers, 1991. Honorable Mention: Ryan Pulock, Islanders, 2013.

Dishonorable Mention: Robert Nilsson, Islanders, 2003 (after whom Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler and Mike Richards were among the next nine selections).     

It’s hard to believe Islanders legend Mike Bossy only went 15th-overall in his draft year.

Yep, 2003. Also known around these parts as The Hugh Jessiman Draft.

Listen, this is not to belabor the point, and Jessiman did suffer a serious ankle injury early in his junior year after being selected 12th overall by the Rangers that didn’t at all help the big winger.

But if you could have added any one of the aforementioned selections (or Dustin Brown or Brent Seabrook, who went 13, 14 that year) to the 2011-12 Black-and-Blueshirts, you’re likely looking at a Stanley Cup champion.   

It is kind of amusing, yes, that in a sport where the core tenant is accountability, not a soul is ever held accountable on Sixth Avenue for the state of utter disrepair that defines NHL on-ice officiating?

Apparently the league standard is the same as the one as we’ve seen applied every night. Which means there is none.

So Connor McDavid won the NHLPA polling of over 500 players as, “The one player at any position you would want on your team if you need to win one game,” with nearly 37-percent of the vote, ahead of Sidney Crosby’s 23-percent.

Does anyone else find that a bit incongruent with the fact that McDavid and the Oilers did not win a single game in the playoffs this year?

Connor McDavid, seen here airborne, and the Oilers were swept by the Jets in the first round of the playoffs.
Getty Images

But beyond that, if you have one game to win, are you not taking the best goaltender in the league?

Players sometimes don’t know all that much more than the rest of us.

Yes, I recognize that I was mocked for being obsessive, but maybe now it has become apparent why I spent much of the preceding two or three years prodding the Rangers to trade for Josh Anderson.  

 Finally, Adam Fox and Ryan McDonagh are each 21 years old.

 Who are you taking?

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Larry Brooks

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