Sabres’ Eichel No ‘Consolation Prize’

Sabres’ Eichel No ‘Consolation Prize’&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Buffalo Sabres may have ‘lost’ the first pick in the draft to the Edmonton Oilers via the NHL’s lottery system but they’re not the least bit upset. That’s because the 2015 draft was one of the deepest in years. That means the #2 selection–Jack Eichel of Boston University–would have been an easy top choice in an average season. Buffalo knows this and they’re content in the knowledge that Eichel is no ‘consolation prize’.

Eichel might not be as polished at this point as top pick Connor McDavid–who looked like the proverbial ‘man against boys’ at times during his final season playing for the OHL’s Erie Otters. He’s not far off, however, and has the potential to be every bit as good as McDavid. So even if he *didn’t* have the ‘generational talent’ sobriquet coming into the NHL Draft the Sabres still have a player that most hockey analysts think can make an immediate impact and be a perennial All Star in the league.

The respected hockey website EliteProspects had this to say about Eichel: “When Jack Eichel is on the ice, the pace of the play shifts; if players can’t keep up, they are left behind. A consistent scoring threat on the ice, Eichel possesses next-level hockey-IQ, an elite-level skillset, and the natural size and work ethic to let him play his role as a scoring power center. All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.”

Not bad for the ‘runner up prize’. Eichel could stand to bulk up a bit–he’s significantly leaner than McDavid–though that shouldn’t be a problem with his lanky 6’2″ frame. Everything else about him sounds ‘can’t miss’ including the ‘next level hockey IQ’ which is something that players either have or they don’t. Buffalo spent much of last season ‘tanking’ in hopes of getting the top pick in the draft. That didn’t quite work out but the end result might be just as good. The Sabres now have excellent depth at center, a solid defenseman in Zach Bogosian and have just acquired former Ottawa Senator goaltender Robin Lehner. Things finally might be looking up for the long suffering hockey fans of Buffalo.

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