Earlier this week, many Calgary Flames fans went to bed thinking they may wake up to the news that their team had acquired Jack Eichel, after insider Kevin Weekes tweeted that Flames general manager (GM) Brad Treliving had put up a huge offer for the former Buffalo Sabres forward. As we now know, that offer never existed as Matthew Tkachuk, who Weekes included in the offer, was never a part of any package Treliving offered up for Eichel.
An Eichel trade did occur that next day, though he was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights, not the Flames. Soon after the deal was made, Sabres GM Kevyn Adams told reporters that Weekes’ tweet was inaccurate, as Tkachuk was never a part of his and Treliving’s discussions. Soon after all of this however, some fans pieced together that Weekes and Adams played together for parts of three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, and that had them wondering if it was possible that the two conspired to send this tweet out, or if perhaps Adams intentionally fed Weekes some false news.
Flames Management Feeling Wronged
While this may seem like a pretty big stretch, fans aren’t the only ones who have questioned how this all went down. In fact, according to Elliotte Friedman, even Flames management isn’t happy about what happened.
“It’s pretty obvious the Flames are blaming Adams for this because him and Kevin Weekes used to play together,” Friedman said on his 32 Thoughts podcast.
The reason Flames management is likely upset over this is that this rumor likely put pressure on the Golden Knights to get a deal done. Perhaps from Treliving’s perspective he originally had the best offer on the table and could have landed Eichel, or even added to his offer to help land him. Instead, the Golden Knights responded by acquiring him less than a full day later.
Flames Had Plenty of Time to Work Something Out
Assuming this is the reason the Flames are upset, it is hard to feel too bad for them. It has been well known that Eichel was available since he first told reporters of a “disconnect” between him and the Sabres back in May.
On top of that, it was reported many times that the Flames were always in on Eichel, meaning Treliving and Adams had to have plenty of talks over the months about what a potential deal would look like. Simply put, if he truly wanted to land him, he could have.
That’s not to place full blame on the Flames GM. I personally didn’t believe acquiring Eichel, given the impressive start the Flames have gotten off to this season, made a ton of sense, given the current roster pieces they would have had to part with. In the summer it would have been a massive pickup for this team, one that could have paid off for many years. However, it is likely that the asking price was higher than what the Sabres ended up acquiring, given that the pressure was mounting for them to make a move.
Treliving May Regret Not Making a Move
For the time being, the majority of Flames fans likely won’t be to upset over Treliving failing to materialize a deal here. However, if they start to slide down the standings for whatever reason, that perspective will change in a hurry. Treliving has shown a ton of confidence in this core over the years, and appears to have done that once again.
The other thought to ponder regarding this entire situation is what type of player Eichel returns to after his neck procedure. There are some serious questions regarding the surgery he will be getting next Friday, as the operation has never been done on an NHL player before. If he makes a full recovery and gets back to being his elite self, it won’t go over well with Flames fans. Like the old saying goes, it is easy to judge in hindsight, but that is exactly what this fan base will do, especially if the 2021-22 season doesn’t end up being a success for their team.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.