When Jack Eichel is drafted by the Buffalo Sabres on June 26th, he’ll have an awfully tough decision to make. Eichel, who completed a very successful season at Boston University, will have to choose whether he wants to take his talents back to BU for another year, or fulfill his dream in the National Hockey League.
Eichel has made it very clear to the media that he hasn’t made a decision yet, as the the 18-year-old is weighing his options very carefully. The decision is difficult for Eichel because, when you break it down, he can’t go wrong either way.
Here’s what Eichel has to consider when making his decision this summer:
First things first: Jack Eichel has some unfinished business at BU. The Terriers were one game short of a National Championship this spring, and that alone is a huge factor that Eichel has to consider while making his decision.
“Yeah, there’s some unfinished business.” Eichel said, per The Buffalo News. “It was definitely tough to lose the last game. It’s one of the lures of coming back.”
Boston University will be a strong team next season. With Jack Eichel, they may have another shot at capturing what slipped away in April. Additionally, Eichel has developed a pretty special relationship with the university, and he may not want to leave that behind quite yet.
“Just the guys, my relationship with them. There’s a lot of pros and cons about going both places,” he said…. “We didn’t graduate too many guys. We lost our goalie, two of our top six forwards but coach [David] Quinn did a great job of recruiting. We’re bringing in a lot of good players.”
Ultimately, there’s plenty of reasons for Eichel to return for another year.
But if you look at the flip side, turning down the NHL will be pretty tough for Eichel.
There are plenty of reasons that Jack Eichel may come to Buffalo this fall.
For one, there’s the “dream” aspect. Every hockey player dreams of taking the ice for an NHL team as a kid, and after years of hard work, that chance is finally open for Eichel. It’s pretty hard to turn down a childhood dream.
Reason number 2? The Do-Re-Mi effect. The fact is, Eichel will be bringing in some major cash if he heads to Buffalo. Obviously, there’s some sentimental justifications for heading back to BU, or even to Buffalo for that matter, but the cash may attract Eichel to the Sabres a little more.
Plus, like BU, the Sabres are building a pretty strong team. If Eichel decides to head to Buffalo, he will become part of a Sabres team that’s looking more dangerous by the day.
“It’s definitely a hockey city,” Eichel said of Buffalo. “I’d been there before and it was kind of expected. … The people were all really friendly, really welcoming. It was a great experience. It was pretty cool for me to be part of the Combine and have the Combine in Buffalo. Obviously nothing is set in stone but it seems like right now Buffalo is where I will be.
He also spoke of the Sabres growing strength:
“A lot of young, talented players.” Eichel said of the Sabres. “A lot of skill. I think they’ve done a really good job of developing young guys. As soon as they put it all together, which I’m sure they’re going to do really soon, it’s going to be a dangerous team.”
Eichel says he expects to make a decision soon after the NHL Draft. What that decision will be… nobody knows.
It will come down to what Eichel considers to be the best fit for next season. Like anybody in his situation, Eichel will just have to follow his heart:
“There’s pros and cons of both situations. That’s going to make my decision pretty tough. If it ends up that my heart tells me that I want to move on and try to play in the NHL, then that’s what I’m going to do. If my heart says I want to go back to BU, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Personally, I believe that Eichel will move on from BU. His time as a freshman was outstanding, and although Eichel may have come up short in his search for a National Championship, I don’t think it’ll be enough to pull him away from the NHL. When you work so hard for so long, and you’re finally given the opportunity to pursue your dream, it’s pretty hard to turn down.
For that reason, you can expect to see Eichel in Buffalo come fall.
Then again, I’m not Jack Eichel, so we’ll wait to see what the Hobey Baker winner decides.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!