While Jack Eichel is not taking his spot on the Buffalo Sabres roster for granted, it would indeed take a very brave (and mostly foolish) man to wager that the youngster will not be on the squad. NHL teams were mandated to submit their final rosters to the league by 5pm EST on Tuesday, when Eichel can finally get rid of his training camp #41 gear and don the #15 he has chosen.
When interviewed yesterday, here are some of the things Eichel had to say about his transition to the NHL, his first professional game, and this year's team -
"Really excited about it. A lot of family and friends coming in, so it's going to be a special moment for me. It's something I've dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on the ice. You've made the NHL.
Everything that's going on in my life, it's all happened really quickly. I'm trying to soak it all in. It's kind of been a whirlwind, but you're finally playing hockey for a living and everything you've done your whole life is to get to this point. It's pretty special.
There's a lot to improve on. Coach Bylsma's been on me about playing away from the puck, and I've been better about playing away from the puck in the preseason games. I think that's one of the most important things at this level. In order to be good you've got to be the hardest worker away from the puck.
It was preseason, but I proved a lot to myself that I can compete against guys in this league. I just want to continue to get better.
There's a lot of really young players on this team, Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, Zach Bogosian and Sam Reinhart, I think we're the future."
While we tend to focus one guy in particular, it's nice for him to remind us that this isn't just a new season of Sabres hockey - Thursday will mark the start of an entirely new era. One filled with new faces, new energy, and new hope.