Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel only just getting started

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: Jack Eichel
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: Jack Eichel /

As far as Jack Eichel is concerned he’s achieved nothing yet, with the Buffalo Sabres set to benefit significantly from this mentality.

Whether Jack Eichel wants to admit it or not, he will always be in the shadow of Connor McDavid. However — aside from actually having McDavid himself — the Buffalo Sabres still stand to benefit from this.

At least that’s one perception, if you consider Eichel’s comments on Thursday, when he reported to training camp for the Buffalo Sabres. As far as he’s concerned, he’s done nothing yet.

This may sound slightly self-critical, considering the 20-year-old is coming off a season where he had a career-high 57 points, despite playing 20 games less than his rookie campaign. And yet, it tells you everything you need to know about his mindset, one which most of the great athletes have.

When you think of the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady, they’re never satisfied. They’re always striving to take their game to another level.

This is why Sabres’ fans should be excited by Eichel’s mentality. If the team is going to end a playoff drought currently standing at six years, their young superstar is going to be a major influence.

One of the most refreshing things about the 2015 second overall draft pick’s approach, is he’s all about the team. As reported by WGR 550‘s Paul Hamilton, he said:

"“I think I have a lot to prove. Actually I think I’ve proven nothing, so it’s a huge year for me personally and as a team. If you look at what I’ve done, it hasn’t been a whole lot. I’ve had two mediocre seasons on a losing team.”"

While you would hardly agree Eichel’s play has been mediocre, again, it’s hard to dispute his approach. He’s only just scratched the surface of what he can achieve in the NHL.

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The center’s offensive skill set and overall potential is significant and there is nothing to stop him having an extremely successful professional career. He also has an excellent build, which can only benefit him more as he becomes stronger.

Any concerns about Eichel’s ability to deal with the limelight are fast fading, with the only doubt surrounding his maturity or lack thereof, based on some of his actions last season. And yet, people sometimes forget he is still essentially a kid – he is growing up every day and will eventually evolve into the unquestioned leader of the Buffalo Sabres.

Don’t think the North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native won’t make other players accountable, but know that he will also practice what he preaches. Speaking to Hamilton and other members of the local media, he said:

"“We need to take the next step as a team and for us to do that, we need some guys to take the next step as players and I need to be one of them.”"

Eichel may never catch McDavid, in his manic desire to be the best. However, he doesn’t actually need to, in order for the Sabres to succeed.

Next: Sabres aiming to re-sign Eichel asap

What did you take away from Eichel’s comments on Thursday? What kind of season are you predicting for him? Further, what will you be looking for from the Buffalo Sabres in general, during training camp? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.