Since he was drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres back in June, Jack Eichel has said that he wouldn’t done the number he chooses until he officially makes the team. On Wednesday, that moment became reality when head coach Dan Bylsma informed the 18-year old that he has officially made the roster.
Eichel had been wearing 41 for the Sabres since the team’s development camp back in July. With the start of the league season, Bylsma gave Eichel the option to switch to 15 before Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
“Then I asked him if he wanted to switch from 41 to 15,” Bylsma told reporters on Wednesday.
Bylsma added that Eichel was a bit reluctant to change due to how well he had played with the 41 on his back.
“He’s going to change, although he thought maybe he had done pretty well in training camp and he shouldn’t change,” he said. “I told him he played bad last game and freed him up to change.”
Eichel made his first appearance with his No. 15 jersey on Tuesday when he, along with Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane, paid a visit to patients at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The former Boston Terrier has been the center of the excitement of fans around the team since he was drafted; he’s been pegged as the future of the organization. However, if you ask him, he’ll be the first to tell you that it isn’t all about him, nor should it be.
“There’s nobody that’s above the team,” he said on Tuesday. “That’s one of the most important things in a hockey locker room. There’s stars on this team, but we’re a team and that’s how we’re going to be good.”
Eichel then ran off a list of names that included the aforementioned O’Reilly and Kane while stating that the collective group is the future of the organization.
Eichel is expected to skate on a line with Kane and Sam Reinhart on Thursday against Ottawa. His usual linemate Brian Gionta suffered an injury late in Wednesday’s practice, and is day-to-day.
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.