Jack Eichel Excited for Future With Buffalo Sabres


Jack Eichel Excited for Future With Buffalo Sabres

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Jack Eichel ended the suspense on Wednesday, when he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Many had wondered if he would turn professional, after being selected second overall in last weekend’s NHL Draft.

Eichel advised last week that he knew what he was going to do, but wanted to wait until he was drafted, before confirming his decision. At the time, he told Mike G. Morreale of nhl.com: “I’m kind of set on what I want to do, but I guess you’ll find out in the few days that follow the draft.

“I sat down and had dinner with (Boston University coach) David Quinn and spoke with my parents…I have a good idea of where I want to be next year.”

With July 1st signifying the start of NHL free agency, many people suspected this would be the date when the 18-year old announced his decision. After photos emerged of his arrival at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, this seemed to confirm he was going to turn pro, and skip his final three years of college eligibility.

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Jack Eichel puts on a team cap after being selected as the number two overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In reality, there was no reason for Eichel to come to Buffalo, if he wasn’t going to sign a contract. His base salary will be around $950,000, plus bonuses.

The 2015 NCAA Rookie of the Year was officially introduced to the media on Wednesday afternoon at First Niagara Center, by Tim Murray. As reported by John Vogl of The Buffalo News, the General Manger called Eichel’s signing a “great event in this organization’s history”.

For his part, the North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native is thrilled to be in Buffalo: “I couldn’t be more excited about it. Looking at the Sabres’ organization, there’s such a bright future here.

“It seemed like a no-brainer. It’s been a dream to potentially be playing professional hockey, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make an impact for the Sabres next year.”

It turns out that Eichel made his decision to turn pro, after playing for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Championships. He had the opportunity to match up against the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, finishing with seven points (two goals and five assists) in 10 games.

Eichel told Vogl and the media: “After going over there and having the experience I did, talking to a lot of guys, I came back pretty set on moving on. I could never really make anything public because I hadn’t been drafted yet.”

However, even after making his mind up, the 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner decided he would only turn pro, if he was playing in the NHL from day one. The Sabres gave assurances that this would be the case, all but securing his signature.

Of course, there is no telling how Eichel will do on the ice this coming season, but you can guarantee he will put in the effort: “I’m just going to work as hard as I can this summer and come to camp with a good attitude – just leave everything out there.

“This is where I want to be. It’s a dream come true to be able to sign a contract, but the real work starts now.”

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