Is There a Plan To Save Jack Eichel From His Loyalty??

June 30th, 2022. That’s the last day that Jack Eichel has no modifier on his contract. While he has no desire now to leave…what if these dreadful seasons in Buffalo continue??

Parallel thinking is a helluva thing because as we were discussing on FOHS the possibility of Eichel asking out of Buffalo, TSN’s Darren Dreger did a hit on TSN about this same topic (as you see from his tweet above). Meanwhile, Greg Wyshynski of ESPNNNNNNNNNnnnnnn talked about the disastrous seasons for the Sabres. So– for once, Buffalo is getting people in the hockey world talking.

For me, this is the same discussion I’ve had for a couple years about Connor McDavid and the dreadful way the Oilers have been playing around him. For their sake, they have gotten things together for the most part, as to not waste another year of his stardom– but now it seems the focus is shifting to Eichel. For all intents and purposes, Eichel has come into his own slowly and silently for the Sabres and the league for that matter. It’s a damn shame that the team around him hasn’t had the same climb he has.

In this “win now” culture of sports, there’s little room for error– which Jason Botterill is finding out right now. Even the absentee landlords that are the Pegulas are paying attention to the Sabres after the Bills made the playoffs and Penn State’s season is winding down. Maybe not good for this scenario, but Botterill has to find a way out or he’ll be on his way out.

However, I mentioned the Pegulas as absentees and that’s kind of how it’s been. Once they sunk their claws into the Sabres as their new shiny toy– they touted them around, touted the heritage of the team around, and tried to make Buffalo a hot spot for people. Yet, once they bought the rest of Buffalo and some of Happy Valley, the Pegulas really have thrown this toy to the side for their new– and more profitable– ones; which the fans have noticed and really been pissed off about in the blue-collar town.

The Pegulas can be as upset as they want, but until there’s action and some kind of direction for this team, they’re going to be a but of many jokes. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see the tales of player mismangement from this era of the team from some players who left and became bigger stars elsewhere.

Leading me back to Eichel. With nothing on his contract until his full no-move clause kicks into effect July 1st, 2022; you’re going to have the rumors of him wanting out or teams wanting to find a way to get him out. With situations not improving, you have to feel bad for a kid who’s too loyal to a team that may or may not get better because of him. A kid who probably won’t get to see his full potential on a squad that doesn’t seem up to snuff to get into a playoff race in the Atlantic Division.

Odds are, his loyalty will keep him in Buffalo despite what’s going on around him. He’ll focus on what he can do, how he can do it with what’s given to him, and then let the cards fall as they may. With six years remaining on his deal and two left with no modifier, we’ll see how much his loyalty holds if he keeps getting better and the team doesn’t.

Add Sabres To List of Youth Movement in Full Force

cut

For a team who hasn’t had a winning season since 2011-12, the Buffalo Sabres are doing all they can to get out in front of that this season. After Tuesday’s win, which got them their 10th straight victory (a franchise record), it’s hard to fathom how this is happening after a 21-win season from last year. They already have 17 wins and we’re just about to enter December.

I’ll also say– yes, there have been teams who won 10-straight that went on to lose 10-straight…hi Flyers…and who’s to say it won’t happen to this rag-tag bunch of kids??

That aside, the Sabres are just another team– akin to the Hurricanes and last year’s Golden Knights– who are just fun to watch because there was little to no expectation of them at the start of the season. Quietly, Jack Eichel is having a solid year with 23 assists and 28 points, Jeff Skinner is tied for the league lead in goals, while Carter Hutton has seemingly shed his back-up role and become a serviceable starter for this team. This is not to mention the Rasmuses (Rasmuii??)– Ristolainen and Dahlin– have been fantastic from the blueline, though the former may want to play a little better in his own end. Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, Sam Reinhart– all key cogs on this roster getting it down.

If you’re into the numbers side of things, Travis Yost has something at the Buffalo News that would give you more insight into that.

While this is a shift in some power, perhaps, in the Atlantic– that’s always good to keep things balanced. I hate to use “parity,” as it seems like a simple excuse to give, but it’ll keep team in check when it comes to who they sign and for how long/much they sign them for. The biggest thing going forward is Jeff Skinner’s extension– which could be very hefty if his pace continues. The biggest thing that the Sabres do hold is three first-round picks in the 2019 Draft. That’s something they could use in order to help unload some money…like a sweetener to maybe take Okposo’s contract.

Regardless of that, whatever Phil Housley has done has worked wonders in year two of his tenure. He’s found out how to coach the team that Jason Botterill has given him, and maybe the move to get Skinner is the last piece they really needed. The key is to not disrupt things by making an ill-advised move and ruining the dynamic in the locker room. While big name free-agents could be out there and may want to come to Buffalo with their resurgence– but having the chemistry they’re having now is pretty solid and something you wouldn’t want to mess up or else they’ll be back to where they were before this season.