Despite another season where he has continued to improve on a personal level, Jack Eichel remains quite annoyed that in the five seasons he’s been with the Buffalo Sabres there has been no postseason action.
With the NHL confirming that 24 teams will go forward into the playoffs as part of the ‘Return To Play’ initiative, the 25th-placed Sabres are now looking at close to nine months without any hockey, and extend their playoffs drought to nine seasons, the longest in the league.
Speaking to members of the media during a conference call via Zoom today, Eichel did not mince his words.
“Listen I’m fed up with the losing and I’m frustrated you know it’s definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. It’s been a tough couple months, it’s been a tough five years with where things have went.
“You know I’m a competitor, I want to win every time I go on the ice, I want to win the Stanley Cup every time I start a season.
“I’ve already started preparing for next season now. I’m already back on the ice, I’m already training, I’m already doing things to try and better myself further for the start of next season whenever that is,”
At least in my opinion, the most powerful answer we heard during our phone call with Jack Eichel today. The tone of his voice says a lot here #Sabres @WKBW pic.twitter.com/4GkksFj7Go— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) May 28, 2020
Eichel posted 78 points in 68 games this season, with his points-per-game at 1.15, bettering his last four years of 1.06, 0.96, 0.93 and 0.69 in his debut season after being drafted second in the NHL Entry Draft.
“I’d be lying if I said that I’m not getting frustrated with where things are going and I think we took a step this year. I will say it’s been a pleasure working with Ralph [Krueger]. He does so much for our group everyday and there are tough times and he does an amazing job of bringing up back in and narrowing our focus and getting us back to where we need to be.
“But I’m definitely not in the greatest place with where the last little bit’s went and it’s definitely worn on me.”
The 23-year-old Massachusetts native is signed through to the end of the 2025-26 season at a $10 million cap hit per year, but you have to believe if he maintains his current production while the Sabres continue to founder aimlessly in the dregs of the NHL then he will want out sooner than later.