WGR’s Paul Hamilton reported Tim Murray is meeting with the Pegulas today in Florida, but he buried the lede a bit. In the final sentence of his story, he wrote this:
“Inside sources have told me that (Jack) Eichel has no desire to sign a contract extension this summer if Bylsma remains the coach, so quite a bit hinges on this meeting.”
Eichel is signed through the 2017-’18 season on his three-year, entry-level deal. He will be a restricted free agent.
If this is true, it puts the Sabres in a difficult position. Obviously, Pegula, Murray and the entire organization know they need to keep Jack Eichel at all costs. He’s the most valuable player the team has landed since Dominik Hasek and was nearly a point-per-game player during his sophomore campaign.
However, the team has to weigh how much power they want to give their young superstar. Do you want to let him know he runs the show? With the leverage Eichel has, they may not have a choice.
Eichel scored 24 goals and 57 points in 61 games this season after returning from injury. He’s totaled 113 points in 142 games over the past two years.
WGR’s Jeremy White also tweeted this morning he heard some within the organization felt today’s meetings could cause a “potential day of reckoning.”
So, what do you think? Is this a fair case of Eichel being unhappy with his coaching staff or him being entitled?
UPDATE: Eichel’s agent spoke to WGRZ’s Adam Benigni, saying there is no truth to the report.
“#Sabres Eichel agent: ‘He is 100% on board" with an extension ‘assuming negotiations go well.’ Bylsma status ‘has nothing to do with it,’" Benigni tweeted.
UPDATE #2: John Vogl from The Buffalo News spoke with Eichel today and Jack shared his thoughts on all the goings-on today. Check it out here.