When you think about the top duos in the NHL the list is pretty easy to assemble. Crosby and Malkin; Ovechkin and Backstrom; Perry and Getzlaf; Benn and Seguin; Toews and Kane. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart?
It may seem crazy to include Eichel and Reinhart in that group, but the Buffalo Sabres young stars are on the path to joining that class.
Bursting Onto the Scene
The two 2nd-overall picks of the last two drafts are having excellent rookie seasons for the Sabres. Through 67 games Eichel leads the team in goals with 20 and has put up a total of 45 points. The 2015 2nd overall pick is continuing to break Sabres and league records. He became the youngest player to score 20 goals in Sabres history since Pierre Turgeon. The Boston native is also the youngest player to hit that goal mark since Nathan McKinnon back in 2013.
Reinhart is third on the club in goals with 18 and scored 32 total points in 64 games played. The most impressive thing for Reinhart has been his improvement from last season to this season. He’s put on the muscle to handle the physicality of the NHL and has vastly improved his skating to an NHL level. Going into the season nobody expected this type of production from the Canadian born winger so soon.
Eichel (44) & Reinhart (30) are the 1st pair of Sabres rookies with 30 points since Thomas Vanek (48) & Jason Pominville (30) in 2005-06.
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) March 5, 2016
Of the two, Eichel, of course, is the more highly touted player. However, Reinhart has been just as impressive throughout the season. They have very different styles to how they approach the game, but this enables them to compliment each other so well.
Eichel is the flashy speed player who has the ability to give you the highlight reel play on a nightly basis. Reinhart, on the other hand, is more methodical in how he plays the game. He has excellent hockey IQ that allows him to be in the right position to score or create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Eichel and Reinhart sit in the top four in goals scored among rookies this season, as well as in the top ten in total points scored. They’re on pace for 94 points combined, which could put them as the most combined points by two rookies this season. They’ll be competing with Arizona Coyotes rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair for this honor. Eichel will likely find himself as one of the finalists for the Calder Trophy this season. As of now he has an outside chance of winning the award unless he can go on a real hot streak over the final 15 games. He currently sits 2nd in both goals and points behind Chicago Blackhawks Artemi Panarin who appears to be the front-runner at this time. Although some may argue the legitimacy of the 24-year-old being classified as a rookie.
The future of the Sabres rests mostly in the hands of Eichel and Reinhart. Currently the 19-year-old and 20-year-old forwards are giving the league a glimpse into the future as line mates. Over the past four games playing together the two have combined for eight points. Along with Evander Kane, who has added four points of his own, the line has contributed a total of 12 points over the last four games. The Sabres may have their top line of the future.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 5, 2016