The Buffalo Sabres have been in possession of one of the strongest prospects in the hockey world since acquiring Sam Reinhart second overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. With Jack Eichel likely heading to town come draft day, Buffalo’s future is looking bright.
Eichel, who had a tremendous freshman year with Boston University, is expected to be taken second overall by the Sabres on June 26th, when the NHL Entry Draft takes place. Eichel, a center, and Reinhart, a center/right wing, will both be battling for spots on the Sabres NHL roster come fall. If each player can earn a spot, it could make things very interesting for the blue and gold.
Many have speculated that Eichel and Reinhart could become line-mates in Buffalo, with Eichel playing center, and Reinhart moving to the right wing. With the hiring of Dan Bylsma, the Eichel-Reinhart duo may be imminent.
Bylsma, who coached Eichel at the World Championships this spring, came to Buffalo from Pittsburgh, where he oversaw the famous Crosby-Malkin duo. Under Bylsma’s command, Crosby and Malkin have become one of the most feared pairings in the league’s history.
Now, with the Eichel-Reinhart duo becoming more and more likely, Bylsma believes that the two could take over as the league’s next dynamic duo.
“I probably learned as much from working with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as they did from me,” Bylsma said, per thescore.com. “I think it’s going to be applicable to the likes of Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel.”
Eichel is coming off of his freshman season at Boston University, in which he became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award since Paul Kariya in 1993.
Meanwhile, Reinhart, who saw nine-games of NHL action this season with the Sabres, spent most of his season captaining the Kootenay Ice of the WHL (Junior). Reinhart continued on his trail of domination, scoring 19 goals, and tallying 46 assists in 47 games.
He also represented Team Canada in the U20 World Junior Championship. While sporting an “A”, Reinhart tallied a tournament-leading 5 goals and 7 assists, and scored the Championship-winning goal.
Together, the duo could create a nasty combination for opposing teams. The youthful energy, paired world-class talent and excellent hockey IQ could help to turn the tide for the Buffalo Sabres.
Comparing Eichel and Reinhart to Crosby and Malkin is certainly a bit premature, but one thing’s for sure – the future looks bright in Buffalo.
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!