When Jack Eichel met with Buffalo Sabres management before the NHL Draft, he told general manager Tim Murray that he felt the Sabres won the draft lottery.
It’s only been three games, but it’s safe to say that coaches, teammates and fans are all starting to believe the same thing.
The second overall pick in June’s draft wowed the 18,000-plus inside the First Niagara Center on Monday with an effort that can only be described as Superstar worthy. Eichel lost the puck inside the Columbus zone, but that wasn’t the end of the play.
Eichel chased down Boone Jenner from behind, took the puck back and beat one of the league’s best goaltenders — Sergei Bobrovsky — on a shot that only goalscorer can finish.
“He took two strides into the zone; two strides to the blue line; two strides back into the zone, and scored,” Matt Moulson said of how effortless he made the goal look. “It was a great play by him.”
The former Boston Terrier said that the backcheck is what the coaches have been harping on the players about over the past few days. For him, specifically, it was his play away from the puck that they wanted to see improve.
That being said, head coach Dan Bylsma couldn’t stop glowing about the effort that Eichel put forth on the effort, stating that that was how you play away from the puck.
“You’re looking at one of the best goalies in the in Bobrovsky right there,” Bylsma said. “You will see that goal again. You’ll see the replay again — all of it. The track back, the stealing of the puck, winning the battle, creating space and then the shot from an improbable angle.
“It’s a pretty remarkable goal.”
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.