A day before the Buffalo Sabres looked to start their 2016-2017 campaign, Jack Eichel sprained his ankle. It was a devastating blow to a team that was looking to start off hot and to a player that was looking to make a jump in year two. Eichel was sidelined for about eight weeks but he didn’t waste time when he returned.
In his first game back Eichel scored a goal and added an assist leading the way to a Sabres win. In his second game Eichel led a Sabres comeback over the New York Rangers scoring two goals. The four games since then he has only had one assist. Last weeks game against the Washington Capitals, Eichel was seen grimacing in pain on the bench. He didn’t look the same for the rest of the night but nonetheless he continued to play. Eichel admitted that he had tweaked his ankle after the game but was right back on the ice the next day. Against the Edmonton Oilers Eichel added an assist and looked like he was back to normal.
We have seen the potential in Jack Eichel with his highlight reel plays. He has the speed and skill that strikes fear into the opponents. His shot and accuracy is the best on the Sabres. Eichel is especially deadly on the power play where he can help with his own play but also by being used as a decoy. His start to the 16-17 campaign should shine some light on how the rest of the season should go though. He’ll have his elite days, like he had against the Senators and Rangers, and he’ll have his off days, like he has for the past few games. His ankle injury will likely bother him for the rest of the year causing him discomfort that can affect his play. Even then Eichel could end up with 50+ points.
Eichel is turning into an elite player. One can only imagine how much he could have produced in the first two months. It seems that some may have put Jack Eichel on the back burner with young stars like Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews, and Connor McDavid all off to hot starts. Take advantage now because Jack Eichel is quickly going to turn into one of the leagues elite centers. It won’t be long until Eichel is among the leagues best as far as points come. He continues to put up points on the power play and showed last year that he can put up points on even strength too. Eichel will need to improve on his face off ability and defensive zone coverage to make the next jump. He does generate about three shots per game among the top 30 in the NHL. Eichel will continue to grow and he is worthy of being a top ten dynasty center going forward.