The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are ongoing, but a strong case could be made that the most fascinating storyline in the NHL world right now doesn't even involve the four teams still playing.
The upcoming offseason should be an exciting one. The free agent class has a couple intriguing names and the 2021 NHL Draft will be hard to predict given the lack of scouting that was able to be done during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the trade market is where the most exciting action could unfold, and the biggest name in the rumor mill is Buffalo Sabres superstar center Jack Eichel.
What's the latest update on Eichel's status?
"And while I’m not saying the star center will get traded before the end of the playoffs, what I’m hearing is that conversations between the Buffalo Sabres and other interested teams are getting more intense and serious," Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic wrote Wednesday.
Which teams make sense as a potential Eichel landing spot? LeBrun lists "Los Angeles, Minnesota, Anaheim, Columbus, Philadelphia and the Rangers, among others."
What are the odds Eichel's hometown team, the Boston Bruins, gets into the mix? Well, you'd have to assume B's general manager Don Sweeney will at least make a call to Buffalo because he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't.
But unless the Bruins were willing to include Charlie McAvoy or David Pastrnak in a potential Eichel trade -- involving either player would be foolish on Boston's part -- it's hard to imagine them coming up with a trade package as good as the other teams involved. Boston doesn't have many Grade A trade assets, and a prospect pool that's arguably the worst in the league is a huge reason for that.
The Eichel situation is one to keep a close eye on as the 2021 NHL Draft nears. Wherever he goes -- if he's actually traded -- could shift the balance of power in the league.