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Hamilton: Could a potential Eichel trade be stalling the Sabres head coaching hire?

"Everything is pointing to Don Granato keeping the job, so why don’t they just announce it?"

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Many are wondering why the Buffalo Sabres haven’t named a head coach yet. 

Everything is pointing to Don Granato keeping the job, so why don’t they just announce it?

I have a theory. If the Sabres hold a press conference to announce their new coach what are most of the questions going to general manager Kevyn Adams be about? It’s would be about Jack Eichel. Adams would be grilled on what teams he’s talking to, where are trade talks, has the team changed its thinking on the surgery that Eichel wants to repair his herniated disk?

I’ve known Adams for along time and he’s not comfortable trying to mislead or lie, so I’m thinking the Sabres organization might be trying to shield him from having to talk about that for the time being.

If you think about it, they could have Granato or any coach signed, sealed and delivered, but there’s no rush to announce it. There isn’t a team development camp scheduled for the near future and the coach has almost nothing to do with the draft, so there really isn’t a rush to make an announcement.

As far as what we know right now, Eichel trade talks are ongoing with numerous teams. Adams is apparently asking for more than most GM’s thought he would be asking for, but that’s what he should be doing.

Credit: AP
Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Penguins won 1-0.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

We also know that Adams has not granted any team permission to speak with Eichel, his agent or the doctors. I think trade talks would have to be deeper before Adams would grant that permission. If he never lets teams talk to Eichel before a trade, it’s going to make it much more difficult to trade him.