Jack Eichel has become somewhat of a superstar in Buffalo. Ever since the Sabres fell to the second spot in the NHL Draft, their focuses have been on the 18-year-old phenom.
With Jack Eichel’s signing on Wednesday, the Hobey Baker winner will officially be headed to the NHL this fall. As you would expect, he’s stoked about his opportunity to go pro.
“I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Eichel said during his press conference at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, per Washington Times.
“Looking at the Sabres’ organization, there’s such a bright future here. It seemed like a no-brainer. It’s been a dream to potentially be playing professional hockey, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make an impact for the Sabres next year.”
The Sabres will be looking for some immediate help from Eichel this fall. While nobody is expecting him to go out and win a championship for Buffalo, the pressure is certainly there to perform.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 1, 2015
Eichel announced his intent to turn professional five days after being drafted. Most people were expecting the decision, but still, Buffalo fans can breathe a little easier now that Eichel is officially under contract.
Eichel had told the media that he hadn’t made a decision before draft day, although he was quite sure he was headed to the NHL. The deal-breaker, he says, was the World Championships back in May.
“Before the World Championships, I was a little bit unsure,” he said. “After going over there and having the experience I did, talking to a lot of guys, I came back pretty set on moving on. I could never really make anything public because I hadn’t been drafted yet.”
Eichel is undoubtedly excited to be headed to Buffalo, as he’s made clear several times. That being said, there’s a lot of work ahead of him, and he’s ready to make a difference.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to sign a contract,” Eichel said. “But the real work starts now. The biggest dream is to make the team.”
Given all the excitement about Eichel, and his talent level, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be seeing him on Buffalo’s roster come opening night.
The question is: Can he make a difference for the Sabres?
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!