20-Year-Old Center – Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres in July 2015.
Eichel scored the game-winner in overtime and also assisted on both of Jason Pominville's goals Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After getting taken second overall in the draft last year, Eichel scored 24 times in his rookie campaign, second only to Calder Trophy-winner Artemi Panarinís 30 goals. The Boston University star came to Buffalo with the weight of a 46-year-old franchise still yearning for its first Stanley Cup title, and he showed exceptional skating and shooting ability that improved as the season went along. Indeed, he was particularly strong down the stretch, closing out the season with 15 points in 17 games while seeing his ice time rise over 20 minutes per game. Ryan OíReilly will remain ahead of Eichel on the Sabres' depth chart due to his versatility and experience, but the 19-year-old should get first crack at the premium offensive opportunities going forward, especially on the power play. After all, Eichel is the Sabres' franchise player.
Eichel would have been the top pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft -- and just about any other -- if it weren't for that Connor McDavid guy. Eichel is a Hobey Baker Award winner -- as a freshman, no less -- with great size and skill, a powerful stride, and a booming shot. He embodies the term "franchise center," and he'll be the best thing that hit the City of Fires since Pat LaFontaine. Eichel is poised excel in Buffalo, where he's the next great American hope. Fantasy-wise, he'll likely be a 50-goal man at his peak and might even top out with more than 100 points some day. But there's just as good a chance he'll have a Jonathan Toews- or John Tavares-like career. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Expect him to claim the second-line center role with Buffalo and maybe even deliver 25 or 30 goals in his first pro season. Yes, heís really that good.
Eichel is the top, US-born prospect eligible for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He's uber-talented and would be a lock for the top pick in the draft if not for Connor McDavid, a Canadian junior considered to be a generational talent. Still, Eichel displays many of the game-changing skills of one Jonathan Toews. Like Toews, he's relentless on the puck and has the size, skills and smarts to excel. And also like Toews, Eichel is proving he can pick up a team and carry them on his back when they need a lift.