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PHT Morning Skate: Jack Eichel, Brady Tkachuk updates


ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres, Brady Tkachuk #7 of the Ottawa Senators and Mitch Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs put their equipment on in the locker room prior the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

Free agent updates: Eichel, Tkachuk

Dr. Ali Rendely provided useful perspective on the Sabres/Jack Eichel surgery situation during a recent appearance on The Jeff Marek Show. On one hand, Dr. Rendely reinforced that Eichel should probably be able to decide which procedure he prefers. Neck surgery is serious, after all.

That said, Rendely clarifies that a six-month window, if not more, is likely a realistic minimum recovery period for both artificial disc and fusion options. (There were indications that disc replacement could get Eichel back on the ice significantly sooner than fusion, but Dr. Rendely indicates otherwise.) If you have even a fleeting interest in the Sabres/Eichel surgery situation, this interview is easily worth your time. [The Jeff Marek Show]

• Along with the Eichel/Sabres trade/surgery situation, Brady Tkachuk’s RFA status with the Senators ranks among the top unresolved issues of this offseason. In what is now “32 Thoughts,” Elliotte Friedman updates on Eichel and Tkachuk.

  • With Eichel, there’s “a real push to find a solution.” On one hand, it feels like we saw this move earlier this offseason. On another, Friedman notes: “Eichel’s displaced disc can’t be allowed to just sit on the nerve.” So perhaps that creates a sense of urgency?
  • Speaking of urgency, Friedman reports that Brady Tkachuk and the Senators aren’t in “Defcon 1" mode about his contract. Understandably, Tkachuk might want to make sure the Senators are actually committed to contending before he signs a long-term contract. (Honestly? The Senators might be wise to play it safe with a bridge deal, anyway.)

Whether it’s 30 or 31 or “32 Thoughts,” Friedman’s regular column is always worth your time. Friedman hit a number of topics this week, including more insight on Robin Lehner’s comments. [Sportsnet]

Other links from around the NHL/hockey

• Injury updates for Quinton Byfield (Kings), Jack Hughes, and others. [PHT]

• Alex Ovechkin told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski that he “doesn’t even think” about Wayne Gretzky’s goals record “right now, to be honest.” Was he being honest, right then? (Wobbles hand in the way that indicates serious doubt.) [ESPN]

• What happened in the NHL preseason games on Wednesday (Oct. 6). []

• Honestly, it feels like Josh Ho-Sang is overdue for a true chance in the NHL. Considering the Maple Leafs’ recent history of solid redemptions, it’s tempting to demand as much for JSH in Toronto. This post provides perspective, without totally dousing that fire. [Pension Plan Puppets]

• With the likes of Dougie Hamilton out, and new goalies + Tony DeAngelo in, the Hurricanes should look different in 2021-22. Why Vincent Trocheck is the “link” for these new-look Hurricanes. [The Score]

• Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron, and other pending UFAs who might sign proactive extensions long before they could reach free agency next offseason. [The Athletic, sub required]

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.