The Sabres posted a losing record in 2019-20 and missed the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.
Their struggles have reportedly frustrated former No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel, who has never recorded fewer than 56 points in a campaign and, at 23 years old, is still very much on the upswing of his NHL career. Eichel said in May that he’s “fed up” with the team’s subpar play.
To avoid a complete rebuild, the Sabres must figure out how to make Eichel happy. Before the start of the 2020 NHL Draft, general manager Kevyn Adam assured fans he would do what he could to retain the superstar.
“I have zero concern on Jack wanting to be here,” Adams said, via NHL.com. “I’ve had great conversations with him, his representatives. … There’s no intention of moving Jack Eichel. I can make that very clear.”
The Sabres were rumored to be shopping their No. 8 pick in Tuesday’s NHL draft, but instead opted to select winger Jack Quinn.
Quinn, 19, will have pressure on him to make an attacking impact early in his career. Eichel doesn’t seem content with waiting a decade to reach the postseason, and every roster addition — and subtraction — from Buffalo matters in its pursuit to surround Eichel with sufficient talent.
Even as Adams puts on a brave public face about Eichel, he’ll understand the stakes of following through and supporting the franchise cornerstone.
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