The Buffalo Sabres are slated to pick second overall in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. When they do step up to the podium, it’s almost a certainty that the team will selecting the player who believes he is the absolute best player available in this year’s class, Jack Eichel.
It had been reported that Jack Eichel was telling those he was interviewing with during the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo this week that he would be better than consensus number one pick Connor McDavid. When speaking with WGR 550-AM Buffalo this week, Sabres general manager Tim Murray confirmed the report when asked how is interview with Eichel went.
“He also said to me that they were pretty happy after the draft lottery,” Murray said. “He said ‘you may have been disappointed, but you shouldn’t be disappointed.'”
Murray then said that he clarified his comments with Eichel, stating that it wasn’t with the player he was disappointed with, but the process of the NHL Draft Lottery itself. He added that disappointment never once crossed his mind when it came to the idea of drafting the Hobey Baker winner.
When it came to Eichel’s comments about being the best, Murray admitted that he was extremely pleased.
“I think he should say that,” he said. “Why not say that? I think he believes it. I think the way he played this season, we called it a two-horse race all year, so why should he not believe that?
“Why should he not believe in his skill set, his total package — size, skating ability, puck skills, hockey sense, as I said the whole package. He’s confident in it. He backed up that confidence in his play this year; had a tremendous year. I don’t know why he wouldn’t believe he’s the best player in the draft.”.
It’s hard to compare Eichel to McDavid in terms of who will be the better professional until they each get time to show what they can do in the league. It’s even tough to see who was the better prospect due to one playing in the CHL with 16-20 year olds (McDavid) while the other played with 18-22 year olds (Eichel) in the NCAA.
Both young men are certain to be top-end talents for years in the league, but know one truly knows who will be better. And if someone says he/she knows, then that person is clearly lying.
Still, for a player to believe that he is the best available despite people believing the opposite, that is a sign of someone who not only believes in his own talents, but wants to make sure that the team that selects him knows how good he thinks he is. It’s not egotistic nor is it cockiness. What it is, is making sure teams know that you are going to come in and do whatever you can to be a top player in the NHL.
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.