You can now add All-Star to Jack Eichel’s list of achievements.
For the first time, Jack Eichel was selected as the Sabres representative for the NHL All-Star game. The announcement came Wednesday morning.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 10, 2018
Eichel’s Star Power
Eichel is by far the Sabres most impactful player. The face of the team is still on his entry-level contract, but is as much of a household name as anyone who has donned the blue and gold in recent memory.
On a team of underachieving multimillionaires, the 21-year-old is finding a way to make an impact. Despite a lukewarm start to the season, he’s often been the Sabres’ lone bright spot. He brings excitement, scoring opportunities and defensive responsibility to every shift.
The center is on pace for the Sabres’ first 30-goal, 70-point season since Jason Pominville hit the mark in 2011-12 with a 30-goal, 43-assist season. If Eichel continues his recent success, it’s fair to say he’s on an 80 or even 90 point pace.
What Took So Long?
Eichel already has 65 goals and 152 points in 185 career NHL games.
In Eichel’s rookie year, 2015-16, Ryan O’Reilly was the Sabres’ lone All-Star game representative. While watching the Sabres regression over the last two seasons, it’s almost hard to remember that O’Reilly was a near point-producing forward with a killer instinct. This year he’s floating without confidence and scoring well under his usual frequency. It’s as if someone stole his beast mode.
Last year, Kyle Okposo received the honor to represent the Sabres. Through the first 44 games, he put up 30 points while Jack missed the first 21 games of the season due to an ankle injury.
A December to Remember
Eichel dazzled in December, piling up an impressive 16 points in Buffalo’s 13 games. He tallied five multi-point games and did not go pointless in back-to-back games. His success pulled the Sabres with him as the team went 4-5-4 for the month. While four wins in 13 games is nothing to write home about, it was the team’s most successful month of the year, earning 12 out of a possible 26 points. Baby steps of progress for the team.