If the Buffalo Sabres want to take the next step, they have to find a way to get Jack Eichel some help because he can’t continue to carry the team by himself.
Scoring his 29th goal of the season, establishing a new career-high, the Sabres captain is showing that he is capable of taking his game to the next level. The real question is whether Buffalo can get him the help he needs to get the team where he is going.
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In fairness, the team is making attempts to get the team in a better position to compete but it hasn’t yielded the results they’ve been looking for. Of course, it’ll take time but how long can a city wait for their team to turn the corner.
At least, Eichel is showing that he won’t crumble under the pressure to produce but a player of his calibre won’t take this type of disappointment forever. Maybe he can take Rasmus Dahlin under his wing and help the No.1 overall pick from 2018 take the next step in his development.
They also have Dylan Cozens who could be that No. 2 centre behind Eichel but its going to take time before he’s even going to be capable of being that type of player. Sure he has 28 goals and 59 points in the WHL but unless he gets some worthy talent with him, the Sabres would be setting him up for failure.
One area the Sabres could try to make a big improvement is between the pipes as Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton have combined for a 2.92 GAA and a .906 save percentage. That’s not going to be good enough to get a team over the hump.
They have Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen developing in the minors and hopefully, he can make strides. He is currently in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones where he has a .916 sv% and a 2.16 GAA. Jonas Johansson has also shown promise in 20 games with Rochester with a 2.19 GAA and a .925 v%.
Regardless of what the Sabres have in the minors, the Sabres need to make the NHL roster a priority especially upfront. After Eichel, only Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson have proven to be able to score at a high level but it doesn’t get much better after that.
If it doesn’t change, the Sabres will continue to see the same results which would be a shame considering Eichel is performing at a Hart Trophy level.
What has impressed you about Eichel’s season? Is there any way that he can get the Sabres to the playoffs? Let us know in the comments below.