Sometimes, enough is enough. It sincerely seems to be the case for Buffalo Sabres star player Jack Eichel. The team's 2017-18 performance fell well short of even the low expectations for improvement... and it was all supposed to be different with Eichel's new contract and his desire to lead the team to greater things. The Sabres had just 16 points at the end of November and never recovered and are now set to finish with the worst home mark in the league...
While Eichel has looked committed to bringing success in Buffalo after signing a massive eight-year $80-million extension, he has never hidden his own displeasure with losing, and not playing up to the standards of the league, and of what the fans expect them to accomplish. Throughout the season, the fanbase started showing its displeasure with the team’s performance through its attendance to games. Last week, Eichel commented on the attendance numbers and added that he does not blame the fans for not wanting to show up to games.
“I think they have a reason to be negative, what have we really put on the ice as a product for them this year? We don’t score goals, we really haven’t made coming to the game worthwhile, so can you blame them? No you can’t."
This week again, Eichel has shown frustration with another aspect of the game that will greatly affect the Sabres - once again - this offseason. The 21-year-old forward has bluntly admitted that he has difficulty accepting the sorry state of the Sabres, who haven't reached the playoffs in the three years since his debut in the league.
"When I got drafted, if you would've said we'd be in this position, I probably would've told you to give your head a shake," Eichel told The Associated Press.
Eichel has to accept that rival teams that entered a rebuild at the same time as Buffalo are doing way better.
"You look at Colorado and some of these teams, New Jersey, that make a quick turnaround and all of a sudden they're in the playoff hunt," he added.
Frustrated to be the draft lottery again, Eichel seems to have had enough. All season long, the young forward has voiced his displeasure over the campaign, in which he missed several games due to another ankle injury. He was injured back in a Feb. 10 game in Boston when he was taken down by Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.
Anyone else think this kid wants out already? I am not saying it will happen. After all, the Sabres and general manager Jason Botterill would be insane to let him go, especially after trading pending free agent Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. The Sabres might be loading up on first-round picks and growing prospects, but Eichel might not have the patience to stick around for such a long rebuild.
Especially one who is not showing any progress since Eichel was drafted second overall back in 2015.
Imagine how controversial an Eichel trade would be?! The star forward is clearly not the only player frustrated with the team, as you have heard starting goalie Robin Lehner complain several times this season. There was also a rumour that he had asked for a trade on deadline day, but ended up staying in Buffalo and denying the chatter the next day.
The saviour might be the most coveted player at the upcoming draft as the Sabres have now the best shot in the league at coveted projected first round pick Rasmus Dahlin. If Buffalo can pick Dahlin, fans will be over the moon to see the young defenseman and Eichel on the ice at the same time. And let's hope Eichel will be excited as well...
Photo Credit: Zuma Press